AirTag - You're It!


There have been some news items lately regarding people using things called "AirTags" to stalk people.  AirTags are Apple devices you can attach to keys or other items and connect to your iPhone using the Find My app to be able to trace the location of the items with the AirTag.

Are there any eDiscovery issues regarding this new tracking device?

AirTags emit a Bluetooth beacon every few minutes via radio frequencies.  That beacon reports the last location of the phone which pinged it.  Although the AirTags aren't GPS trackers on their own, they can be picked up by other Apple gadgets.  Those devices then ping the location of the AirTag.  The AirTag itself doesn't store the information but in conjunction with any location data or history is stored on the iPhone. It is believed that only the user can see where your AirTag is located.  Devices that relay the location of your AirTag also stay anonymous and that location data is encrypted.  Even Apple has no idea of the location of your AirTag or the identity of the device that helps find it.

While good for finding your keys or wallet, these devices have also been misused.  Sports Illustrated model Brooks Nader recently reported finding a stranger's AirTag in her coat.  A Connecticut man was arrested for placing an AirTag on his ex-girlfriend's car.  A Texas man also did the same thing to his estranged wife.  


Although the AirTag doesn't have any pertinent eDiscovery value on its own, when connected with the user's iPhone, it could yield some important data.  While it seems to be a very useful gadget, the concern is of the volume of devices involved.  By using an AirTag, a user is effectively available to a global monitoring network of millions of devices.  Any iPhone would be capable of detecting an AirTag.  That, in itself opens even more issues with the scope of eDiscovery possibilities which would not just limit it to a single device.  

So where would you locate this eDiscovery data?    

With the iOS 13 and iPad OS updates, Apple merged the "Find My Friends" and "Find My iPhone" apps into one app called "Find My" to make it easier to find whatever the user needs to find.  Since then, Apple has made continual improvements to the app.  

Although you may not understand how to preserve this data, be aware that this data could exist.  If you need advice or assistance with AirTag data, please consult with a Litigation Technology Specialist. 

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