Judge Makes Decision After Request To Toss Apple AirTag Case

Judge Makes Decision After Request To Toss Apple AirTag Case

(USNewsBreak.com) – Apple released its popular product, AirTags, a small device with a Bluetooth tracker, in April 2021 to help people keep track of their important belongings, such as luggage, purses, and keys. However, stalkers also quickly found them useful tools for monitoring their targets. Dozens of people sued the Big Tech company in December 2022 in a class-action lawsuit that Apple tried to have dismissed. However, a judge recently partly denied the motion.

The Claims

The class-action case involves 38 plaintiffs accusing Apple of making the AirTag convenient for stalkers through its “unparalleled accuracy, ease of use, and affordability.” The device emits an encrypted signal that the company’s “Find My App” feature can track. While it’s convenient for people who plan to use it correctly, it’s also an “effective stalker tool,” according to the plaintiffs in the case.

Some technophiles actually called the device into question upon its release three years ago. One tech columnist noted that its tracking capabilities were “terrifyingly good,” and he also said it could possibly help stalkers.

In 2023, Apple filed a motion with the court, seeking to dismiss the case, saying it “took proactive steps to try to deter misuse.” Furthermore, the company claimed plaintiffs shouldn’t hold Apple liable for the malicious acts of third parties, adding that California law didn’t require the company to mitigate stalkers’ ability to use the devices.

Judge Partially Denies Motion to Dismiss

On Friday, March 15, US District Judge Vince Chhabria issued his decision on the motion. In part, he denied and granted the dismissal, ruling that many plaintiffs “inadequately pled” their cases. However, he noted that a few could move forward “even though it’s a close question.”

In Chhabria’s ruling, allowing the few cases to go through, he said that the company “may ultimately be right … but that determination cannot be made at this early stage.”

John Kirkman’s case is among those that Chhabria is allowing to proceed. Kirkman said during his marriage, his now-estranged wife displayed “signs of aggressive and erratic behavior.” As a result, he feared for his safety and that of his daughter. He had a scary encounter with his spouse, and later, he received a notification that “an unknown AirTag was detected.” It eventually turned out that someone had duct-taped the device to his bumper. The incident has caused him anxiety.

Another case moving forward belongs to Àine O’Neill, who moved to the US from Ireland in 2021 to pursue an acting career. The following year, she received a message similar to the one Kirkland had received. Police couldn’t help her, and after suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, she decided to abandon her life in the US and move back to Ireland.

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