Irish woman among dozens sues high-tech giant over “weapon of stalkers”

Irish actress and producer Áine O’Neill gave up her Hollywood career after being attacked by an unknown stalker

Irish actress and producer Áine O’Neill gave up her Hollywood career after she was attacked by an unknown stalker who hid one of the tracking devices in her car, the lawsuit says.

US Attorney Gillian Wade, who is part of the legal team leading the class action lawsuit, told Sunday World this week that the Apple product has ruined some people’s lives.

“Apple released a product that it knew would be abused, while knowing there were still ways to make it safer.”

“Even now, two and a half years later, Apple is catching up and the consequence is that people’s lives are being ruined.

“We are here to take responsibility for all of these victims and force Apple to finally and fully fix its mistakes.”

Originally marketed as a device to help people keep track of items like keys or laptops, there have been dozens of cases of them being used in sinister stalking incidents in the US.

Apple is accused of failing to take adequate steps to ensure the safety of the product sold in Ireland for €39 before its launch.

Áine O’Neill’s experiences are detailed in the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern California Division.

In November 2022, after moving to California in 2021, she received an air tag alert on her phone that, when a sound played on it, appeared to be coming from the underside of her car.

“She could see what the air tag owner could see, where she worked, where she parked her car, her and everywhere she had been,” the filing states

She took the vehicle to two repair shops who couldn’t find the tag without performing costly auto parts removal work.

As a result, she suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, became unable to work, and ultimately became too afraid to remain in California.

Her career was going well and she had more work lined up for the TV series “The Rookie” after her appearance on the show.

According to the file, just at the beginning of her career, she was “terrorized by an unknown stalker, and no one could protect her.”

“Due to the horror and uncertainty of her situation, the only option she could use to ensure her safety was to turn her back on her career.”

“While she is now 5,157 miles away from her unknown stalker, she is just as far away from her lifelong dream.”

Ms O’Neill barely remembered moving and was quoted in the lawsuit as saying: “I don’t even remember getting on the plane back to Ireland. I felt like a zombie; like I wasn’t in my own body.”

The original case, filed last July, said AirTags had “become one of the most dangerous and frightening technologies used by stalkers.”

It was stated that they had become the “weapon of choice” due to their small size, accuracy and cheap purchase.

While iPhone owners will receive a message if an unidentified AirTag is tracking them, users on Android phones won’t receive the same warning.


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