Is It Just an AirTag in the Bag?

An AirTag is a $29, quarter-sized, Bluetooth device marketed by Apple as “a super easy way to keep track of your stuff.” While it may be tempting to attach an AirTag to your children’s clothing or backpack or, perhaps, load a geo-tracking app (such as Life 360) on your children’s phones when they go to the “other parent,” think twice because this can result in a host of undesirable consequences--including domestic violence proceedings and/or the initiation of criminal charges.

For example, under New Jersey law, even if the sole purpose of employing electronic geo-locating of a child was a genuine concern for keeping track of that child’s whereabouts, the use of the tracker--especially without the knowledge or consent of the other parent--may run afoul of this State’s harassment and/or stalking laws.  Indeed, by definition, so long as the actual tracking was intended, that may run afoul of the stalking statute. Furthermore, even if the tracking does not amount to a criminal offense, it could nonetheless be the basis for a domestic violence complaint.

And, if you are thinking of cleverly hiding the AirTag, and no one will ever know, Apple’s AirTag policy may foil that covert plan. Apple’s software alerts victims of surveillance when there is an unregistered AirTag in their presence for an extended period of time.  Apple takes it a step further and, in response to a subpoena or valid request from law enforcement, will partner with law enforcement to trace an AirTag back to the perpetrator, which could also result in criminal charges. Suffice it to say, if a parent suspects that he or she has been the target of the geo-locating activities of the other parent, it may well be appropriate to contact law enforcement.

If you are in the midst of a custodial dispute and trying to understand your options, schedule a consultation with a member of the Family Law team at Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP to discuss the details of your matter. We can help you navigate complex parenting issues.