User tracks package with AirTag all across the UK0
Apple officially says that an AirTag is meant to help you find your lost items like keys for example, but this latest AirTag journey with the postal service shows that with a bit of technical knowledge, you can also track an item as it moves. Now, don't imagine a movie action scene where the hero tracks a car speeding at 60mph in real time, but still tracking an item's location with AirTags every minute or so is definitely possible.
YouTuber in the Netherlands managed to track a different package with an AirTag in it as it traveled with Dutch postal services.Interestingly, this is actually the second time we hear about something of this scale as previously a
Back to the UK story, the user, Intego's Kirk McElhearn was able to locate the AirTag first at a local sorting station, and then track it on its way in a delivery truck to a mail center, then a sorting center, and finally at a friend's house. Once the package with the AirTag arrived at its destination, it doesn't seem to have notified the receiver in any way, even after days of the AirTag staying idle at their home:
This raises all sorts of questions. Since an AirTag is so tiny and it's easy for someone to slip one in your backpack or purse without you noticing, Apple has built in protections so that people cannot covertly track your location, but it's not certain how actually helpful those protections really are.
Apple says that "if someone else’s AirTag finds its way into your stuff, your iPhone will notice it’s traveling with you and send you an alert. After a while, if you still haven’t found it, the AirTag will start playing a sound to let you know it’s there." It then continues to clarify that "if you happen to be with a friend who has an AirTag, or on a train with a whole bunch of people with AirTag, don’t worry. These alerts are triggered only when an AirTag is separated from its owner."
Notice that Apple says that an AirTag will only notify you if "it's traveling with you", but does not say anything about a case as explained above where an AirTag arrives with a package via the post and stays at your place after that. And the fact that the friend who got the package never heard any signal that would help them identify they are being tracked is worrisome.
You can read the whole story about the journey of the AirTag across the UK and how it successfully reported its location every step of the way at the Mac Security Blog over at Intego.