How Apple’s Find My app ‘cost’ a US city millions of dollars

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Apple‘s Find My app has cost the city of Denver, US $3.76 million in compensation and damages. In 2022, the city’s police wrongly raided and ransacked an elderly woman’s home looking for a stolen truck and guns.
According to a report by CNN, Denver police were seeking to recover a stolen truck loaded with guns, ammo and cash. For this, the police used Apple’s Find My technology on another iPhone to locate the vehicle.However, the police picked the wrong house out of a fairly wide area to storm in and catch the thieves.
Due to this misplaced raid, 78-year-old Ruby Johnson filed a lawsuit against the police. As compensation, the city will be paying Johnson a $3.76 million award.
Moreover, the defendant officers — Detective Gary Staab and Sgt. Gregory Buschy — were also sued as an individual. Denver police had previously cleared both men of wrongdoing, but the jury disagreed.

How Apple’s Find My app played a role

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought the case on behalf of Johnson. The lawsuit mentioned that the raid was conducted based on an “alleged location ping from an iPhone’s Find My app that the officers did not understand and for which they had no training.”
As per the complaint, the police relied on a “Find My” ping from an iPhone 11 that was probably still in the stolen truck. However, the area identified included parts of six other properties across parts of four city blocks.
In a statement, Johnson’s attorney Tim Macdonald said: “We are disturbed by the lack of training or policy changes and hope that the amount of the punitive damages award will send a strong message that the police department must take seriously the constitutional rights of its residents.”
The ACLU and the jury concluded that the two police officers who ordered the raid had no reason to single out Johnson’s house as the target.
Also, the officers have to pay nearly $1.25 million each in punitive and compensatory damages. A Denver District Court clerk noted that the city has not yet filed an appeal of the verdict.



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