Court rules iPad tracking is not trespassing

Court rules iPad tracking is not trespassing

Summary: The ACT Magistrates Court has ruled that tracking down a stolen iPad using Find My iPhone is no different to calling out to a kidnapped child.


Tracking down a stolen iPad and triggering the alarm for it using Find My iPhone is no different to calling out to a kidnapped child, and is not electronic trespassing, the ACT Magistrates Court has ruled.

Last month, an ACT resident tracked his stolen iPad to a north Canberra residence using the Find My iPhone app, which allows Apple device owners to locate their devices using GPS. Once at the residence, he activated the alarm alert, which traced the sound to within the garage of the residence. The owner then called the police, who searched the property and discovered the iPad among a number of other alleged stolen goods.

In an attempt to avoid being fingerprinted as part of an investigation into the alleged stolen items, the lawyer acting for the defendant claimed that the evidence was obtained unlawfully because the iPad owner "electronically trespassed" on his property by activating the iPad alarm.

Prosecutors labelled the claim as "absurd", and said that if it was trespassing, then Wi-Fi signals that cross property boundaries could also be considered as trespassing.

According to the Canberra Times, Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker ruled on Friday that the iPad owner did not trespass.

"He could just as easily have shouted out to a kidnapped child and listened to its reply," she reportedly said.

Walker granted the prosecution's application, and ordered the man to present himself to police to have his fingerprints taken.

Topic: Apple


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Court rules iPad tracking is not trespassing

    Kudos to the courts to see the truth.
    • Agree ... but it needs to be more than that

      Lawyers who attempt BS tactics like this should be fined by no less than $100K for wasting the courts time and resources.
      • Gee, how dare that man attempt to defend himself...

        That is more absurd than the lawyer's claim. The lawyer is the advocate for the defendant; he would be remiss if he didn't attempt every possible avenue to help his client. The judge ruled, the case goes on. It might have been only a delay tactic with no expectation of success, giving time to find out who really put that Ipod in the man's garage. Whatever, we have no special insight in the facts, so why jump on the lawyer. If you were accused, you would want a determined advocate also.
        Elwood Diverse
    • And kudos to this guy for using tech to

      track down his Ipad and having the smarts to get the police, instead of taking the law into his own hands....

      Great story!!
  • You can tell

    You can tell a guy is just a little too fond of his tech if he associates losing his gadgets with losing his kid!
    • The analogy

      was used so that simple minded folks could follow along. You call out to your child in a language that they understand and you call out to your tech equipment in a language that it understands. Simple.
    • Reading comprehension is hard!

      Read the subject :)
  • Read the story...

    he didn't associate it with a lost kid - the judge did. The judge associated sending a signal to the device to cause the alarm to go off to be similar to calling out a missing child's name to get them to answer verbally in order to locate their exact position.
    • The analogy could have even been different...

      Many cars use what is called a Lo Jack system that uses GPS so they can be found when stolen. So, the Judge could have compared the iPad GPS locater program with that of the Lo Jack GPS locater system for cars instead of a kidnapped child. All three are essentially the same, and one searching for his or her things should not be considered trespassing when sending an electronic signal to locate their stuff. The comparison there for the electronic signal was to Wi-Fi. The guy did call the police once it was located, since he could not brake into the garage, which would have been trespassing on the owners property.
  • Toddy - What the hell?

    Waiting for your twisted pearl of wisdom on this one. After-all, Apple must be at fault somehow!
  • Common sense won?

    Heh... good to see the case laughed out of court. I have no sympathy for a caught criminal, especially one who uses cheap tactics like "electronic trespassing".
  • Prevent Tracking

    Detracktor com has more information about eavesdropping and tracking as well as how to stop it.
    Joe Detracktor