I recently read a story about an airline worker being arrested for stealing thousands of dollars worth of goods from luggage at the airport. He got nabbed, thanks to Apple’s low-key tracker devices, AirTags. The very same AirTags have been the subject of stories (and inquiries) into “stalking” cases and other similar heinous maleficence. Of course, we have all found lost items and tracked our luggage across the planet to finally show up at our homes.
Henry Harteveldt, an online and travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research, said he would use an AirTag if he had no choice other than to check a suitcase. “The end result is knowledge, and knowledge can increase peace of mind,” he says, adding: “2022 is not a year where you want to take chances with your checked bags no matter where you are traveling.”Bloomberg Business
AirTags, like every other recently introduced technology, only reinforces that no matter what, people with bad intentions will find ways to manipulate technology to their ends. This battle to prevent them from winning depends on the creators of those technologies and, to some extent, on all of us.
Not everyone is up with the idea of being part of the solution. “AirTags put the responsibility of keeping track of checked bags back on the customer; yet another obligation, along with online check-in 24 hours before a flight, that comes with the modern hellscape that is air travel,” writes Brad Stone, editor of Bloomberg Business magazine.
I am not sure; I agree with Brad. It is a choice I, as a consumer, make. I buy and pay for an AirTag. And I put a tag in my suitcase or my backpack. And I do. I love the AirTags — and have half a dozen sprinkled in my luggage, camera bags, keys, and day bag. I am a forgetful sort, so they are a godsend. I decide if I view this tracking ability as a “convenience” or an “annoyance.” The post-internet humans are ever more addicted to the convenience that technologies bring and thus willingly turn a blind eye to the impact of that technology. We will do nothing as laziness and convenience trumps everything — and mega-companies know that all too well.
As I have written before, this is the dilemma and dichotomy of our increasingly complicated and conflicted relationships with modern technologies – especially those that rely on networks, data, and personalization. For now, I am glad, at least for once, AirTags helped catch a baddie.
August 15, 2022. San Francisco.