Gov. DeSantis approves 5-year prison sentences for tech-assisted stalkers

The new law increases the current punishment for apps and devices to track others without their permission thirtyfold.

Steep penalties are coming to Sunshine State stalkers who use mobile apps and small, Bluetooth-enabled devices like AirTags to track their victims.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation (SB 758) to make installing or placing a tracking device or app on another person’s property without their consent a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Doing so today is a second-degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum 60-day jail stint.

The change goes into effect Oct. 1.

SB 758, sponsored by Fort Myers Republican Sen. Jonathan Martin, received sweeping, bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature this year. It passed 37-0 in the Senate and 113-0 in the House, where Palm City Republican Rep. Toby Overdorf carried a similar companion measure.

Martin and Overdorf filed their legislation last year as the number of plaintiffs suing Apple for failing to prevent stalkers from abusing its popular and relatively cheap AirTag product rose to 38. Last month, a Judge denied Apple’s attempt to dismiss the class-action lawsuit.

AirTags debuted in 2021 and cost $29 apiece. They are the size of a half-dollar coin and offer “unparalleled accuracy, ease of use, and affordability,” Apple said. In many cases, they require no installation.

Comparable products in the market include Tile, Chipolo, Cube and Samsung’s SmartTag.

Apple marketed AirTags as handy devices to find personal belongings like car keys, using the locational service of an iPhone or digital device, not GPS, for tracking. All those attributes have made them the “weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers,” the 41-page complaint filed Dec. 5 in California says.

The filing cites at least two murders in which the culprit used an AirTag to follow their victims.

In 2022, a police officer in Miami-Dade County was charged with using an AirTag to stalk his ex-girlfriend.

Apple announced plans in May 2023 to team up with Google to thwart unwanted tracking.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Monday news

    April 26, 2024 at 6:13 pm

    What police stalkers and false reports whaat

  • Julia

    April 26, 2024 at 6:13 pm

    US Dollar 2,000 in a Single Online Day Due to its position, the United States offers a plethora of opportunities for those seeking employment. With so many options accessible, it might be difficult to know where to start. You may choose the ideal online housekeeping strategy with the xz-02 help of this post.

    Begin here>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • JD

    April 26, 2024 at 6:36 pm

    Can we talk about LE using Stingrays without a warrant first? Talk about using electronic stalking.

    Stingrays, also known as “cell site simulators” or “IMSI catchers”, are devices used by law enforcement to obtain information from cell phones by mimicking a cell phone tower. They are highly controversial because they can collect data from any phone in the vicinity of a device, not just targeted phones. This data can be used to identify people and track their movements.

    “Do as I say, not as I do.”

  • Monday news

    April 26, 2024 at 10:43 pm

    That might be I you know forever to you even if your name and looks changed

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704