One might assume that existing law in the U.S. would make it a punishable offense to use an AirTag for stalking. True as that may be, one lawmaker believes more can be done in his state.

This week, Pennsylvania State Representative John Galloway proposed legislation that would specifically prohibit an AirTag from being used for anything beyond locating personal items. Citing a recent New York Times article on AirTag abuse, Galloway says Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code needs updating to prohibit remote stalking:

“Since Apple AirTags were introduced in April 2021, I have seen many articles about predators placing AirTags onto victims’ vehicles, purses and even coat pockets to track their location,” said Galloway, D-Bucks. “The AirTag’s precision finding tool should only be used to locate the owner’s property, such as keys, wallet, or book bag, as was the original intention of the product. My legislation would protect Pennsylvanians by making sure that this unwarranted act is addressed by updating our Crimes Code to prohibit someone from tracking one’s location or their belongings without consent.”

Pennsylvania’s congress is now sharing the proposed legislation and seeking co-sponsors. If state legislators vote to pass the new law, Pennsylvania would become the first state to target AirTag abuse through lawmakers.

As ever, it’s important to understand how Apple AirTags are designed to prevent abuse like stalking.

iPhone users receive an alert when an AirTag is following them without its owner, and Android apps, including one from Apple, offer similar features. Apple also published a “Personal Safety User Guide” earlier this week to detail what to do when personal safety is compromised through Apple products including AirTags.

9to5Mac’s Take

It’s hard to imagine that legislation prohibiting AirTag abuse won’t become law in Pennsylvania. What lawmaker would be against cracking down on stalking through AirTags?

Citing recent press coverage to explain why new law is needed in the first place, however, suggests the proposal is more about the appearance of doing something about an issue. If existing state law doesn’t already prohibit stalking, then updated policy is certainly in order.

My guess is this is mostly about using Apple for an easy political win. Apple can only combat the fear of AirTags by continuing to inform the public about how they work and what’s already being done to mitigate abuse.

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About the Author

Zac

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created SpaceExplored.com.