Twitter users have reported that they’ve seen ‘stalker-ready’ Apple AirTags for sale online. The AirTags, with physically disabled speakers, were for sale on Etsy for USD 77.50 (RM323.68) each—more than double the price of a regular RM129 AirTag—before they abruptly went offline.
The Apple AirTag is meant to be a small, easy-to-carry device that can help keep tabs on the location of other items—like your keys or other personal belongings. However, there have been multiple reports of AirTags being misused as items to help with things like car thefts and stalkers.
These ‘silent’ AirTags reportedly included a small hole made underneath the battery to deactivate the speaker—which would normally let out a beeping sound to help you locate the item. Similar products could also be found on sites like eBay before they were taken down as well.
Apple did release a Personal Safety User Guide in January which even includes a page specifically about the AirTag and Find My devices. But that didn’t stop the silent AirTag from showing up on online shopping platforms.
The Etsy merchant JTEE3D, who initially posted the listing for the modified AirTag, said he pulled the product listing himself and made a statement:
“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. These requests led me to listing it as a product on Etsy, albeit without a great deal of traction. The vast majority of sales shown on my Etsy profile are from sales on my modified slim AirTag, designed to unobtrusively fit inside a purse or wallet,” said JTEE3D.
The merchant might not have intended for the silent AirTags to be used for stalkers and thieves, but I cannot be sure that their buyers would have the same intentions. And even though the listings seem to have been removed, there are still online guides on how to silence AirTags yourself.
Currently, there are no software updates from Apple that will make a physically modified AirTag start to make noise again—nor has Apple put out a statement regarding the matter. The best we can do to protect ourselves is to just be aware of if a rogue AirTag is in your area—as it will automatically send a notification to any nearby iPhone owner. Apple also created a free app so Android users can scan for any AirTags, too.
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