Usually leaving an attraction with something more than what you brought in is a sign of a good time — and even better souvenirs.
Not this time.
Jennifer Gaston recently told WOFL-TV that as her family was taking the Walt Disney World monorail back to their car, a notification arrived that someone with an AirTag was tracking them.
AirTags are small, coin-sized devices that allow an owner to track a car, handbag or other property by allowing the owner of the AirTag to know where it is. AirTags also have a feature that allows some phone owners to know when one is nearby, potentially tracking them.
“We were terrified. We were confused, hurt and scared,” Gaston said.
She said her daughter, Madison, “literally watched it follow us from the tram all the way back to our vehicle.”
A thorough search showed they had been tracked throughout their visit to the Orlando, Florida, park.
The inline surveillance did not end when the family reached their car and locked themselves in.
“As [Madison] was refreshing it, it showed the AirTag was still in our parking spot, so somehow when we were frantically shaking out clothes and dumping everything out of our bags, it fell out,” Gaston said.
The family filed a report with the police, and no one was hurt.
“This story could have ended way differently,” Gaston said. “I’m praising God we have the outcome we have, but it’s because she was diligent and aware of what to do.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said that because the AirTag was not turned in, they cannot investigate to determine if criminal activity took place.
The gizmo has raised the hackles of security professionals.
“Some people who have ill will towards others are using it to potentially stalk people, follow people, tag vehicles, high luxury vehicles, that they might want to come back and steal,” said David Benson, a security expert. “Even if it’s not at epidemic proportions, it’s happening enough where it’s concerning.”
Benson suggested that if a person finds they are being tracked, to head to a public location and contact the police.
The website Vice has noted that the device is used by stalkers.
“Stalking and stalkerware existed before AirTags, but Apple made it cheaper and easier than ever for abusers and attackers to track their targets,” said Albert Fox Cahn, executive director at the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project.
“Apple’s global device network gives AirTags unique power to stalk around the world. And Apple’s massive marketing campaign has helped highlight this type of technology to stalkers and abusers who’d never otherwise know about it.”