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Fears that use of tracker devices by criminals to stalk victims is not illegal


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“It is imperative that legislation is swiftly reviewed to ensure we can combat this insidious form of abuse.”

There are now fears that planned new legislation may not include their use in stalking cases under anti-harassment laws.

Last month Declan ‘Mr Nobody’ Brady admitted his role in the Kinahan Cartel murder of innocent man Noel Kirwan in which an electronic tracker on his car was used by his killers.

The Special Criminal Court was told Brady had cut his links with the Kinahan gang and is already serving a lengthy sentence for firearms and money laundering offences.

The tracker had been placed on Mr Kirwan’s Ford Focus car in which he was sitting when he was shot six times in December 2016.

The device was linked to a laptop discovered in an apartment where a toothbrush with DNA matching Brady’s was also found.

As well as tracking people drug gangs have used devices such Apple Air tags to track drug shipments and have been discovered among seizures all over the world.

During a recent Oireachtas debate Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan described as “deeply concerning” the threat posed by tracking devices such as Apple AirTags.

Referring to the case of Irish actor Áine O’Neil, highlighted by the Sunday World last year, assurances are need they can’t be used in such a way in Ireland, according to the senator and EU candidate.

“She received notifications on her phone that an AirTag was tracking her every movement – to work, to meet friends, to the supermarket.”

“The emotional toll inflicted upon her led to her being forced to abandon her dreams of working as an actor and producer in LA due to incessant tracking and the inability to disable the tag.

“We urgently need assurances that tracking devices cannot be exploited for stalking purposes under Irish legislation.

In a speech in the Senate by Junior Minister Sean Fleming on behalf of the minister he said that planned legislation on harassment “may apply to the use of electronic tagging devices like AirTags in the context of stalking.”

Senator Boylan said it was “deeply concerning” that discussions have not already taken place between government departments on tightening up the regulations.

“It is imperative that legislation is swiftly reviewed to ensure we can combat this insidious form of abuse.

Last year the Sunday World revealed how Irish actor and producer Áine O’Neill gave up her Hollywood career after being targeted by an unknown stalker who hid one of the tracking devices in her car.

She is one of three people who have been allowed to bring a lawsuit forward against Apple for failing to forsee problems with the product.

US lawyer Gillian Wade who is part of the legal team previously told the Sunday World that the Apple device has ruined some people’s lives.

“Apple released a product it knew would be abused and did so with knowing there were still ways it needed to be made safer.”

Originally marketed as a device to help people keep track of objects like keys or laptops, there have been dozens of cases in the US where they have been misused in sinister stalking incidents.

Apple are accused of failing to take adequate steps to ensure the safety of the product, which sells in Ireland for €39, before it was released on the market.

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