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A bill has been submitted to the Ohio House to try and criminalize using electronic tags for tracking people without permission, the latest legislative attempt to curtail AirTag stalking.
Apple’s AirTag has courted controversy by being an accessible way for some would-be stalkers to keep track of potential victims, despite the various anti-stalking measures built into the device. On Friday, Ohio took a step towards making it illegal to perform AirTag-based stalking.
Introduced to the Ohio House, bill HB672 seeks to amend section 2903.211 of the Revised Code to prohibit anyone from “knowingly installing a tracking device or application on another person’s property without the other person’s consent.” The bill is sponsored by Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D) and Rep. Tom Patton (R ).
The litigation was created in part due to a decision by 3News to actively advocate for bipartisan legislation over unwanted monitoring and tracking, with the news organization lobbying legislators over the matter. 3News also reported on loopholes in Ohio law that would’ve enabled such tracking to take place if there had not been any prior patterns of stalking behavior or domestic violence.
Under such circumstances, it is possible for the perpetrator not to receive any penalty for the act.
“This was an issue that I was not aware about, until you contacted us, and I’m so grateful that you were advocating for one of our constituents as she was very nervous, scared, and confused about the fact that someone could perpetuate such an offensive act against her,” said Sykes. “Now we are acting on her behalf, and as well as others who have experienced these types of situations, or who may be subjected to them in the future.”
According to the report, at least 19 states have specific laws against electronic tagging. Ohio wasn’t among them.
The bill follows interest by other legislative bodies about the potential misuse of AirTag. In January, legislation in Pennsylvania was proposed to specifically make AirTag-based stalking punishable.
In February, New York attorney general Letitia James issued a consumer alert warning about AirTag stalking.