Apple and Google are collaborating on a project to stop the misuse of Bluetooth location-tracking devices by detecting unauthorised or unwanted Bluetooth tracking and sending alerts to iOS and Android users.
Furthermore, companies like Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, Eufy Security, and Pebblebee are already supporting the development of this proposal in their devices.
An Internet-Draft through Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has been submitted by Apple and Google with a review and comment period of three months. At the end of this period, Apple and Google will implement this specification for unwanted tracking and alerts. All future versions of iOS and Android devices will be able to support this tracking.
The draft submitted by the two companies consists of instructions for manufacturers if they choose to build unwanted tracking detection compatible Bluetooth devices. Even safety and advocacy groups like the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) believe that unwanted tracking can place survivors of domestic violence in danger.
“These new standards will minimize opportunities for abuse of this technology and decrease the burden on survivors in detecting unwanted trackers. We are grateful for these efforts and look forward to continuing to work together to address unwanted tracking and misuse,” said Erica Olsen, senior director of NNEDV’s Safety Net Project.
While location-tracking devices like AirTags are useful when it comes to tracking luggage or other personal items, Apple claims that AirTag and Find My network’s proactive features were the first to deter any unwanted tracking in the industry.
“This new industry specification builds upon the AirTag protections, and through collaboration with Google results in a critical step forward to help combat unwanted tracking across iOS and Android,” said Ron Huang, VP of Sensing and Connectivity, Apple.
“Android has an unwavering commitment to protecting users, and will continue to develop strong safeguards and collaborate with the industry to help combat the misuse of Bluetooth tracking devices,” said Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Android.
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