Safety Concerns Over iPhone iOS 17 Feature

Apple has shared more details regarding a new location tracking feature in the recent iPhone software update. The tool has stirred up controversy, with some people concerned about how location information can be misused.

The new Check In feature allows users to notify close contacts when they have made it to their intended destination. After starting the feature, the phone will send out a notification to the chosen contact to notify them when the user has reached the selected location.

However, if a user is not progressing to their location, a different notification is sent to contacts. This one will contain information such as the user’s location, battery level, and cell service status.

This feature has received a mixed reception so far, highlighted

Some have praised the feature, saying that it will help forgetful users who mistakenly do not message close contacts when arriving at their destination. It will also be useful to parents, highlighted other social media users.

However, others have raised concerns about how the tool can be misused by abusive or controlling partners, for example. White Ribbon Australia works to end gendered violence in the country, and its national director, Allan Ball, shared his perspective on the new tool.

“Technology-facilitated abuse is on the rise, enabling offenders to harass victims around-the-clock, making the abuse even more intrusive”, said Ball.

“While this new auto-text function is designed to let people know the user is safe, mobile devices are widely used to track victims of family domestic violence and abuse as another form of coercive control – a pattern of abusive behaviour that we continue to lobby to have criminalised across all States and Territories”, he added.

Ball highlighted that there is a growing awareness around controlling and abusive behaviours towards women, however “we cannot let online platforms and telephone services continue to enable these behaviours”, he concluded.

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