Modified AirTags with disabled anti-stalking speakers are a thing now, because of course
We’ve already established that AirTags are a privacy nightmare — bound to be misused. In the latest horror story of our increasingly creepy world, these trackers are being sold with reduced anti-stalking measures. That’s right, modified AirTags with disabled speakers are being sold on Etsy and eBay (possibly on other platforms as well) for more than double their original price. Of course, a malicious person who desperately wants to stalk others (for whichever reasons) wouldn’t mind paying around 77 bucks. It is small, convenient, and now comes without speakers to alert the victims.
As per a PCMag report, “Silent AirTags” are now showing up on online shopping platforms, such as Etsy and eBay. The modified AirTags don’t have a sticker covering the speaker. They are, in fact, physically modified to disconnect the speaker from the battery. An unsuspecting victim with an Android phone or an iPhone running an outdated version of iOS would have no way to find out they’re being stalked – unless they coincidentally spot the tiny device.
AirTags were designed with two privacy measures in mind — audible alerts when they’re separated from their owners for a long time and iOS notifications that alert people about unknown AirTags following them around. With the former now being disabled and the latter requiring certain conditions not met by all people, these modified AirTags have become an easily accessible, convenient stalking tool.
The merchant on Etsy — JTEE3D — took the listing down following the raised concerns and stated:
The intent of this modification was to cater to the several requests of buyers interested in my other AirTag product who were interested in fitting an AirTag to their bikes, pets and power tools. These requests led me to listing it as a product on Etsy, albeit without a great deal of traction. The vast majority of sales shown on my Etsy profile are from sales on my modified slim AirTag, designed to unobtrusively fit inside a purse or wallet.
The eBay listing from another merchant claims that these modified AirTags were created for noble reasons:
This [is] so it doesn’t keep beeping when away from you, e.g if left in car or bike or with a family member! … Reduces chance of a thief being notified of its hidden location!
Regardless of the descriptions, alleged reasons, justifications, and other nonsense, online shopping platforms should actively take down similar listings in the future. Modified AirTags are a serious privacy and security risk that could put people in actual danger.
If you’re an Android user, do you actively use Apple’s Tracker Detect app to check if someone is stalking you? Let us know in the comments section below.