an anti-theft feature and a million dollar fine for stalkers

Tile, the specialist in lost property trackers, has added an anti-theft feature to its range of services that makes its products completely invisible. Which is not without raising serious questions about harassment.

The official function of lost item trackers is to allow users to track down a misplaced wallet, bag or key fob. Unfortunately, they are also devices that facilitate harassment. Small and discreet, they can easily hide in the car or in the belongings of a person that a jealous companion wants to follow without being detected.

A hefty fine in the event of harassment

The manufacturers of these products have implemented several anti-harassment measures: trackers start ringing after a certain time, smartphones display alerts in the event of the presence of an unknown tracker… But for many users , these devices cancel the interest of these products. Many also use it as anti-theft, even if the manufacturers (Apple in the first place with AirTags) are careful not to explicitly sell trackers for stolen objects.

Well, that was true until Tile unveiled its new anti-theft mode. Which means that trackers will be silent when someone who is not the owner tries to find out if they are being tracked by a snitch. For victims of harassment, it’s a nightmare but the manufacturer has put in place many constraints. Before activating the mode, the user of a Tile product will have to declare his identity to the company by providing an official document. There will also be a biometric scanning procedure to spot fake IDs.

Once the verification is completed, the user will be registered with Tile, which will activate the anti-theft mode. The manufacturer will thus be able to identify the owner of one of its products: beware of him if he is guilty of harassment. Tile effectively shatters anonymity: ” [Nous] take a highly collaborative stance with law enforcement “, admits the company.

After activating the anti-theft mode, users should know that ” personal information can and will be shared with law enforcement, even without a subpoena, to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of alleged harassment “. And it’s not over: Tile also promises a fine of 1 million dollars for any individual convicted of harassment, if he ever used one of its products to follow a person.

Stalkers will therefore think twice before activating this anti-theft mode which could be very expensive. Is this still a good solution? Tile’s position is unique in the market, it is hard to see Apple offering something equivalent, given the discourse on data confidentiality and respect for the privacy of the creator of AirTags.