Ex-husband loads woman's car with AirTags to stalk her

Duct-taped under the bumper and hidden in a side mirror, the tracking devices planted by her ex-spouse turned a woman's life into a nightmare.

As reported by 404 media, Ibodullo Muhiddinov Numanovich followed his ex-wife multiple times after their divorce, and planted a total of seven Apple Airtags in the victim’s car to stalk her.

According to documents filed by US prosecutors for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the stalking began around March 27th when the ex-wife found and removed an AirTag from her car and informed the FBI.

Less than a month later, on April 18th, a second AirTag was found taped underneath the front bumper with duct tape.

The next day, the woman found a third AirTag, wrapped in a blue medical mask and tucked in near the rear passenger-side wheel.

A fourth AirTag was removed from a driver-side mirror's frame, and another was found underneath the license plate.

Apart from constantly planting tracking devices onto the victim's car, the defendant harrassed by phone and used emotional violence against his ex-spouse.

As written in the documents, Numanovich followed the victim to a car wash, banged on her windows, and insisted on knowing why she wouldn’t answer his calls.

Less than one week later, the ex-husband managed to leave five threatening voice messages within 10 minutes, calling his ex-spouse “worse than an animal.”

In addition to the allegations of stalking and physical and emotional abuse, the defendant is also facing charges of recording sexually explicit videos of the victim to use as extortion. According to authorities, approximately 140 explicit photos and videos of the victim were stored on the ex-husband's phone.

Not-so-innocent gadget for finding your keys

Since its launch in 2021, this round-shaped gadget priced at $29 has become a dangerous weapon fueling domestic violence.

With the initial purpose of using Bluetooth to locate lost keys or other possessions, cases of AirTags being exploited by digital stalkers and abusers have skyrocketed by 317% this year.

In December 2022, Apple faced a class lawsuit from dozens of victims who were stalked by former partners or strangers using AirTags, pointing at Apple’s failure to mitigate the risks and protect victims.

In March this year, a Northern California judge ruled that the case should proceed, dismissing the company’s arguments that “specific injuries” suffered by the 38 plaintiffs were not foreseeable injuries and, therefore the company can not be held responsible.

“Common sense alone compels the conclusion that harm from stalking is a foreseeable consequence of making and selling a tracking device, especially a small, affordable, consumer-friendly tracking device,” US District Judge Vince Chhabria wrote in his order.

Last year, Apple announced a partnership with Google to develop a new "industry specification to address unwanted tracking" as a response. Now, Apple has launched these new anti-stalking features with iOS 17.5 in May 2024.

Cyberstalking is a crime that affects 7.5 million people every year, including minors.

In some cases, it can even lead to murder, as seen in a stalking drama where a woman used an AirTag to track and kill her boyfriend.

Last year, Apple announced a partnership with Google to develop a new "industry specification to address unwanted tracking" in response to numerous concerns about stalkers using accessories like AirTags to secretly track individuals.