NYPD discovers spy device in patrol car

Officers found a geolocation device during a routine check of the vehicles after the end of the service.

The City of New York Police Department reported the appearance of a third-party geolocation device in one of the force's patrol cars. The department's Housing Chief Martine Materasso warned of the risk these devices pose to officers, especially at a time when attacks against police are taking place all across the country.

The device, an Apple AirTag, was found under the hood of the patrol car wrapped in a plastic bag. The geolocation tool allows an iPhone user to know its location at all times. NYPD safety protocol includes checking vehicles before and after each use. Materasso urged her colleagues to be especially careful following this finding.

Found under the hood of a police car

"Please keep a heightened state of vigilance, in light of the anti-police sentiment we have seen not only here, but across the U.S. Continue looking out for each other and be safe," she wrote to New York agents in an email accessed by the NY Daily News. This incident comes just two days after violent riots in Atlanta by far-left radicals who attacked law enforcement.

This is not the first time that Apple's location-based device has been at the center of controversy. Reports of people finding AirTags placed among their belongings have skyrocketed. In fact, the company itself was forced to review the capabilities of the device. Since last year, it has been working with the authorities to prevent "unwanted tracking" through the use of AirTags. In a statement released in February, the company noted:

AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person's property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products. Unwanted tracking has long been a societal problem, and we took this concern seriously in the design of AirTag

Apple noted that the design of the AirTag allows them to identify the user and the device from which the tracker is being controlled. In fact, they can provide this information to law enforcement agencies if the appropriate judicial authorization is obtained. This has already led to the identification and arrest of some people for illegal use of this technology. "Every AirTag has a unique serial number, and paired AirTags are associated with an Apple ID. Apple can provide the paired account details in response to a subpoena or valid request from law enforcement."