Ohio House introduces bill to criminalize stalking via AirTag

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A bill has been introduced to the Ohio House to try to criminalize the use of electronic tags to track people without consent, the legislature’s latest attempt to curtail AirTag stalking.

Apple’s AirTag has sparked controversy by providing 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 to make AirTag-based stalking illegal.

Introduced to the Ohio House, bill HB672 aims 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 lawsuit arose in part as a result of a decision by 3News to actively advocate bipartisan legislation on unwanted monitoring and tracking, with the news organization lobbying lawmakers on the matter. 3News also reported loopholes in Ohio’s law that would have made such an investigation possible had there been no previous patterns of stalking or domestic violence.

Under such circumstances, the offender may not be fined for the act.

“This was an issue I was not aware of until you contacted us, and I am so grateful that you advocated for one of our constituents as she was very nervous, scared and confused about someone being like this” an offensive act against her,” said Sykes. “Now we are acting on her behalf, as well as for others who have experienced these kinds of situations or who may be victims in the future.”

At least 19 states have specific laws against electronic tagging, according to the report. Ohio was not there.

The bill follows interest from other lawmakers about the potential misuse of AirTag. In January, Pennsylvania proposed legislation to specifically criminalize stalking based on AirTag.

In February, New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a consumer warning about AirTag stalking.

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