I wonder how it does that. Unauthenticated BLE characteristic? This would imply anyone could force an arbitrary AirTag to make a sound. Obvious application: force all AirTags nearby to keep making sounds.
A cop's not going to get your bike back. They'll write a report and then throw it away when you leave.
This is what happens most of the time -- cops just don't care in the majority of cases.
This implies a concerning reality departure.
And the last police shooting was ultimately about stolen property. They killed a father to be and a fetus over a suspected stolen car.
So no, I haven’t departed reality. But yes, not all police departments are like this (mine specifically has been under federal oversight for years).
In the US? I wonder which part of the US (if I may ask)
> last police shooting .. killed a father ..
How sad that they did that. (If it got covered by any news, it'd be interesting (or is there a better word) to read)
You are about as likely to get hit and killed by lightning as you are to die from being shot by police.
Chance of getting hit by lightning:
1 in 500,00 = 2.0 * 10^-6 
Chance of getting shot and killed by police (2020):
993 in 331,449,281 = 2.99 x 10^-6 
Hardly seems "fairly common" now does it? And, your second post about the relative frequency to other countries is a different statement, one that while interesting, doesn't say anything about how frequent something is.
And the numbers aren't even outside of an order of magnitude if focusing on African Americans while controlling for population.
241 in 44,780,000 = 5.38 x 10^-6 
I understand that your sentiment is in vogue, but emotion and vitriol has taken enough of our society away from us. When possible, maintaining perspective is paramount.
The denominator should be the number of police-initiated encounters. I could only find 2018 data, but it's likely in the same ballpark. 
Thus, the chance of getting shot and killed by police (2020):
993 in 28,880,900 = 3.44 x 10^-5
For African Americans (2020):
241 in 3,393,800 = 7.10 x 10^-5
So it's an order of magnitude more likely that you'll be shot and killed by the police than getting hit by lightning. It's in the same category as being killed by cataclysmic weather in the US.
As an aside, I also believe that the way you've argued your point here speaks to a lack of contextualization. Murder is more abhorrent than many other causes of death simply because things like lightning strikes or car accidents are done without prejudice or intent. Murdering someone with a gun requires intent at every step. In some cases, it's preventable, and action should be taken to ensure that mistakes do not happen.
To normalize data collected from jurisdictions with different populations.
"The denominator should be the number of police-initiated encounters."
It depends what you care about. If you're a black man in America, perhaps you care about the overall chance of dying this way.
Perhaps, conditional on having been stopped by police, the chance of being shot and killed is the same for white men and black men. But this would be irrelevant if black men are 10X more likely to be stopped in the first place.
> In stark contrast to non-lethal uses of force, we find that, conditional on a police interaction, there are no racial differences in officer-involved shootings on either the extensive or intensive
margins. Using data from Houston, Texas – where we have both officer-involved shootings and a randomly chosen set of potential interactions with police where lethal force may have been justified – we find, after controlling for suspect demographics, officer demographics, encounter characteristics, suspect weapon and year fixed effects, that blacks are 27.4 percent less likely to be shot at by police relative to non-black, non-Hispanics. This coefficient is measured with considerable error and not statistically significant. This result is remarkably robust across alternative empirical specifications and subsets of the data. Partitioning the data in myriad ways, we find no evidence of racial discrimination in officer-involved shootings. Investigating the intensive margin – the timing of shootings or how many bullets were discharged in the endeavor – there are no detectable racial differences.
If looking at any kind of force though:
> Blacks are almost eighteen percent more likely to incur any use of force in an interaction, accounting for all variables we can in the data. Hispanics are roughly twelve percent more likely. Both are statistically significant. Asians are slightly less likely, though not distinguishable from whites.
He does give caveats and goes into an extensive discussion on the limitations of the data available (one being the lack of data, which I would say should be the first order of the day for anyone looking for solutions to this) and possible interpretations. As an aside, I'm now unsurprised when I encounter progressives (an irony that might be amusing if they weren't so insidious and invidious) who've not heard of Fryer, nor how quickly they move to dismiss his work or even smear him without ever bothering to check his work in the slightest.
I didn't find anything about lightning, sadly (that would've been a welcome funny moment in amongst these awful stats), although earlier in the pandemic I checked the chances of being hit by lightning (for use as a comparison to some other stats) and was surprised to find out how high they are. Just last month I read this article on the BBC site and decided never to go out in a thunderstorm ever again. If you read to the end it gets worse:
> In 2016, Bangladesh declared lightning strikes a natural disaster when more than 200 people died in the month of May alone, including 82 people on a single day.
Shocking, literally and figuratively.
Also, very few people stick around when the cops are coming after someone and the denominator should be people the cops are going after (arrests + stops + deaths from cops). In general, cops don’t just randomly start shooting people in their line of site…
You’re also more likely to die of a lightning strike than you are in a school shooting . Does that mean we should judge the horror of school shootings any differently?
-  https://www.statista.com/statistics/971473/number-k-12-schoo...
Certainly. One (school shootings) is obviously far more horrible, for obvious reasons.
But, if you're commenting on how common something is (as the original poster did), then having an actual understanding of the frequency is important. For instance, I don't think we need armed police and metal detectors on every single campus. That would be an over reaction but one that you might make if you thought the problem was bigger and more widespread than it actually is.
I am somewhat surprised that I am having to explain why keeping perspective is important on HN. Sign of the times, I guess.
In which case it’s important to add some more context to the numbers you cited.
Lightning strikes kill about 50 people/year. Police kill about 1,000 (US).
You’re significantly more likely do die at the hands of police than you are from lightning.
Does that make either occurrence particularly likely? That’s where things get messy. Lightning doesn’t discriminate. Cops do. A person of color has no disadvantage against lightning, but they do when police are involved.
Bottom line: this comparison is problematic and misleading. This was the point of my first response.
Understanding that on the whole it’s extremely unlikely to be struck by lightning doesn’t mean someone should go stand in a field during a lightning storm holding an umbrella.
Even on HN, people have an allergic reaction to even a suggestion that a report arguing for the conclusion they already believe in could be based on flawed data or flawed methodology.
(A sure-fire way to have this conversation on an arbitrary topic is to point out base rate fallacy - so many reports and arguments omit the base rate, either accidentally or on purpose, which often leads to making a sensation out of a non-story.)
Still, bad reasoning has to be pointed out, or else we fall into darkness. The big problems ahead of us are of the kind where intuition alone won't help us. We've had thousands of years honing our intuitions and refining them into saws, cultural norms, religious beliefs, etc. The problems we find hard today are precisely the ones where you need rational, correct reasoning.
Chance of getting hit by lightning: 1 in 500,00 = 2.0 * 10^-6 
Population of earth ~7674mil, so I can pop out have a little bit of a rampage, settle some scores and kill ~15,000 and you wouldnt consider that I had 'done much wrong'.
Seems it's on par with yelling go packers or similar at a crowded bar.
Does it matter? Someone is going to do it anyway. They might just think that it's funny that they can make all the tags in the subway car start making noise.
So maybe the question should be "why did Apple design it to allow this?".
Probably some people change the configuration to take AirDrops from everyone, but I'd expect that to be a small minority.
All of this reminds me of good old bluejacking, which was when we did the same thing using Bluetooth.
I think the encryption and tie to an Apple account prevent arbitrary people from doing that.
Airtags are just one implementation of a Bluetooth transmitter and a long life battery but anyone could probably build a similar device dedicated to tracking with off the shelf parts.
Those features make make AirTags more practical for any use, good or bad. They do rotate Bluetooth MAC addresses so only you and Apple can follow where the tag has been, supposedly.
Furthermore, if your target has an iPhone, you can partially leverage their phone against them. Of course Apple saw this coming and added a warning. If you're on Android you'll have to rely on apps like these (or the theoretical app Apple promised at some point) to prevent AirStalking
Tile has offered a similar mechanism for years but the lack of a worldwide network of automatic data collection points makes their network a lot less useful for good or bad people.
A tool like this that reliably detects AirTags rather than relying on whatever heuristics Apple uses to say “an AirTag is following you” would be invaluable for people’s opsec, be they performers or journalists or anyone else desiring anonymity.
e: meant to say delay fuse, not slow [blow] fuse
Further, there's no protection if you have no smartphone but are in a dense population area surrounded by devices that are part of this surveillance network.
There is no aspect of this that is privacy friendly except for the hand waving.
GPS trackers are larger, require a fair amount of power (big battery), don't work well indoors, and require cellular service.
The non-HN public would probably never notice, and it wouldn’t be too hard to get someone’s unlocked phone (especially in an abusive-relationship scenario)
But these trackers mean that you can give a stuffed animal to your favorite streaming star at a conference (or sent one in the post to their mailbox service) and then learn where they live... and you can do so with a few minutes effort and a few dollars in cost above the toy.
If you know you're at risk you can protect your phone. I think the threat from these apple-powered trackers is much more severe, but it's true that these sorts of risks still exist without them.
Unless someone piggybacks on Apple’s find my network using their own hardware.
I read the specification and turned my laptop into an airtag clone one day I was particularly bored, really isn’t complicated.
> I read the specification and turned my laptop into an airtag clone one day I was particularly bored
> really isn’t complicated.
Sure, but “of iPhones” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. Worldwide network of <users of some common hardware or software> generally isn't as uncommon.
There is nothing Dropbox does that can’t be done with rsync.
Running even a NAS storage with remote backups and decent security is not trivial job.
While UX/client features is a factor for buying into Dropbox, the storage and backup costs are the primary cost driver.
My company is working on a platform to make BLE product development much easier than it is today, and also to improve the quality of BLE products. We plan to make privacy a standard feature.
Asking how many ppl are opposed to tracking is a silly question that won’t get you anywhere — it’s answer in a vacuum doesn’t make sense as it needs to be contextualized. “Are you ok with google seeing your IP so they can sell you ads to give you free YouTube” is an example of context where people see trade offs. Most people won’t understand the full spectrum of what’s going on, and if it all in the end results in just ads, many are fine with that as long as they’re getting free stuff with it.
The bigger questions on societal level trade offs shouldn’t be answered by lay people but rather regulation in the name of public interest.
Neither one provides enough information for the average person to give an informed answer. They're both equally biased/leading, but in opposite directions.
And, of course, for adventurous devs they’re going to introduce a StalkingKit!
That director is probably referring agreements the movie maker made with Apple in exchange for free Apple devices to use in the movies. Or he is trying to misdirect for the next movie he is making.
But, AirTags use a proper speaker rather than a piezo one - so it is possible to remove the permanent magnet and make them silent. (See YouTube for details)
If you were worried about a high value item (eg a motorcycle) you could hide two - a sacrificial regular one, and a better hidden silenced tag that should remain undetected for at least a few days.
I'm not sure how they would even do that in the first place, since the AirTag doesn't track anything.
The tracking via Airtags is just putting a device on someone's person without their knowledge. That is already illegal but unless you know a crime has been committed you are SOL.
So, you want to shut down all manufacturers of phones, GPS devices, and Bluetooth devices? Because that's what you're asking for here.