To preempt potential concerns about stalking, Apple built-in several anti-stalking features into its AirTag tracking accessory. This includes software that will alert users if it detects an unknown AirTag that has been following them, and also hardware features where AirTags will emit a sound if they are separated from their owner.
This works both ways, where it can be used to help locate a missing item with an AirTag attached to it, or to let users know that there is an unknown AirTag following them. However, it seems that some people have started to sell modified AirTags online where the speakers have been disabled.
Oh look. There is already a secondary market for modified AirTags with the speaker disabled for “stealth mode.” I hate everything so much right now. https://t.co/Y56CusJ4qP
— Eva (@evacide) February 2, 2022
This was initially discovered by Eva Galperin, the Director of Cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who spotted a listing on Etsy for these modified AirTags. The listing has since been removed and according to the seller, they told PCMag that the modifications were done for innocent reasons.
According to the seller, “The intent of this modification was to cater to the several requests of buyers interested in my other AirTag product who were interested in fitting an AirTag to their bikes, pets, and power tools.” While we could buy that reasoning, it probably doesn’t help that there is a good chance other people could use it for nefarious purposes.
We think Apple has a growing privacy problem on their hands with the AirTags and they definitely should do something about it.