The crime of stalking is not new. But recent tracker innovations, like Tile and AirTag, provide an easier and cheap method to track people on their personal electronic devices without their knowledge. A Houston woman recently disclosed that her soon-to-former spouse was tracking her with this new technology.
How it works
This new technology, known for tracking items like a stolen bicycle or handbag, may also play a role in a divorce. It can track spouses by being hidden in, for example, a handbag, vehicle, or luggage.
Apple AirTag relies on Bluetooth technology along with a Find My iPhone app from a person’s iPhone to determine its location. All iPhones are near a specific AirTag are actively locating that tag and are especially accurate for geo-location. The tags are inexpensive and light and are particularly good at tracking because iPhones are almost everywhere.
Houston woman tracked
The woman undergoing a divorce heard a chirping faint sound in her car. Her iPhone contained a message the following day that there was something traveling with her. She discovered that her soon-to-be ex-husband hid the tracker in the back seat.
She sent all pictures, screenshots, and other information to her attorney after discovering this tracker. She also confronted her husband who first denied tracking her and then apologized and confessed.
Placement of the tracking device in a vehicle jointly owned by spouses is not a crime in Texas because it is a community property state, according to a Houston attorney. Both spouses may track their jointly owned vehicle.
It is illegal to track strangers. But the law has not kept up with evolving tracking technology and is unclear in domestic situations. A television station called numerous law enforcement agencies in Harris County, and they were unaware of these tracking devices.
It is difficult to prove unlawful tracking if a couple is in a relationship, have children and own property together. In one case, a parent placed a tracker in their child’s backpack. Although this device was actually used to track when the other parent with the child, this tracking was not a crime.
Attorneys can help protect your rights in a divorce. They may also provide you options on best assuring that the laws may protect you.