Non-consensual tracking, or monitoring a person’s location without their consent, is a form of technology-enabled abuse. It creates the potential for gender-based violence, stalking and trafficking. During Data Privacy Week, Information Technology Services and the Office of Equity Assurance explain how it works, how to spot it, and how to protect your privacy:
• How it works. Small, inexpensive and highly effective tracking devices made by Apple (AirTag) and Tile (Mate, Slim, Sticker) can be secretly placed in a bag, on clothing or on a vehicle to track a person using Bluetooth.
• How to know if you’re being tracked. Apple users should receive a security alert within 24 hours of an unknown AirTag tracking them. Tap the alert and follow the instructions or beeping noise to locate the device. Apple users also can check the ‘Find My’ App under Items. Android users won’t receive an alert, but the AirTag itself should also emit a sound alert. A Tile tracker won’t emit a sound and no security alert will appear on your device, so the best approach is to conduct a physical search of bags, vehicles, clothing or other items you frequently carry.
• What to do if you’re being tracked. If you find a tracking device or are alerted of a personal tracker, first ensure your safety. Then, disable the tracker by removing the battery. If you cannot disable the device, leave it behind or store it somewhere until you can give it to law enforcement. Otherwise, the stalker will continue to know your location. Take screenshots of any security alerts you received. Take photos of where the tracker was discovered and keep the disabled device as evidence.
If you or someone you know is experiencing technology enabled abuse or harassment, first ensure your own safety and the safety of others. Call 911 in emergency situations.
Abuse or harassment can be reported to the University Police Department at 304-293-3136 or to other law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction over the crime. Students, faculty and staff can also report abuse and harassment to the University by calling the Equity assurance and Title IX office at 304-293-5600 or by filing a report.
The Office of Equity Assurance and the legal system work independently, but in coordination. You may file a report with the University, law enforcement, with both or with neither. The standards for determining a violation of criminal law are different than the standard in WVU’s grievance procedures. Neither the results of a criminal investigation nor the decision of law enforcement on whether to investigate determines whether a violation of the University’s policy has occurred.
© 2022 West Virginia University. WVU is an EEO/Affirmative Action employer — Minority/Female/Disability/Veteran. Last updated on January 27, 2022.