AirTag used to track NYPD car as privacy concerns persist

Find My app open looking for AirTag
(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

Apple’s AirTag item tracker has become a great way for people to find the keys they lost down the back of the sofa, but it can also be used for more nefarious purposes. Now, an AirTag has been found under the hood of a marked NYPD car.

The vehicle and attached AirTag were discovered in Queens, New York, but nobody knows why it was there or who placed it. The AirTag was found in a plastic baggie under the hood, according to reports.

It’s thought that the AirTag was being used to track the whereabouts of the vehicle, but again, the reasons are unclear at this time.

Unwanted AirTag tracking

Fox News reports that NYPD Chief of Housing Martine Materasso took the opportunity to remind police officers to check their vehicles before and after their shirts to ensure that trackers like AirTags haven’t been planted.

AirTags have previously been used to follow cars prior to thefts, while reports of the trackers being used to stalk women are all too common. Apple has already made changes to the way AirTags and the Find My network functions to help ensure unwanted tracking isn’t as common, but instances like this continue to crop up.

"AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person's property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products," Apple previously said when discussing the issue of AirTags and privacy.

Apple’s AirTag is one of the best Bluetooth trackers you can buy, but unfortunately, that also makes it most likely to be used by people who are up to no good as much as by people looking for their lost wallet.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.