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Keeping track of your personal items can be a challenge. Wallets, keys, phones, purses, and
even luggage can get misplaced or even left behind during hectic errands. Luckily several companies have come out with GPS enabled technology to help you track and find your personal items. However, what happens when good tech is used with bad intentions?
Such is the case with Apple Airtags, devices slightly larger than two half dollars that can be
placed nearly anywhere and provide consistent and detailed GPS tracking wherever they are
left behind. Two women have recently filed lawsuits against the tech giant for negligence,
product liability, and violating privacy rights, in addition to other consumer violations. Both
women allege that their ex-partners used the devices to track them without their consent.
Plaintiff Jane Doe alleges that she found an Airtag in her child’s backpack that her husband was using to track her during their contentious divorce. Another woman, Naomi Dozier, told Vice News in December 2022 that her ex had done something similar by tracking her three children with the devices. While Apple has implemented some safety features, such as a pop-up that alerts Apple users that an Airtag is nearby and an audio alert that goes off when an Airtag is separated from its owner for an extended period of time, some consumers are stating this is not enough. Android devices do not have the automatic alert and a third-party app must be installed and regular “scans” need to take place to detect the Airtag. As for the audio alert, these can be muffled by cloth or tape barriers and sometimes even shut off in the settings for the Airtag. Serious safety concerns can arise with such inconspicuous tracking devices, such as the case of an Indiana women who tracked her boyfriend’s suspected affair and ran him over and killed him in June 2022.
So, what does Florida law have to say about using tracking with your children? Every parent
wants to protect their children and make sure they are always safe, especially during a particularly contentious custody dispute. The urge to know where your children are located can be especially strong if you have never been away from them for extended periods of time before. However, Florida Statute § 934.425(b)1,4, states that parents or legal guardians can install tracking devices or application only if the parents or legal guardians are lawfully married to each other and are not separated or otherwise living apart and give their consent or if the parents are not married and are divorced, separated, or otherwise living apart both parties must consent. If you and your co-parent are not together, you both must consent to your child possessing a tracking device or application. A person who violates this statute commits a misdemeanor of the second degree.
If you believe you or your child may be being tracked without your consent, first contact the
police. Once you have made a report and located any tracking devices take careful records of the incident. Once you have documented the surveillance, contact Prescott Legal. We handle a variety of custody issues and have experience with contentious and complex situations.