Apple and Google team up on industry spec to make Bluetooth tracking devices, like AirTag, safer

News Summary

  • The new spec, meanwhile, wants to make unwanted tracking alerts work across any platform.Various advocacy groups praised the effort in today’s announcement, including the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the Center for Democracy & Technology.
  • This includes building on the AirTag protections Apple had already released but also, critically, ensuring that users would be able to combat unwanted tracking by offering tools across both iOS and Android platforms.
  • “We built AirTag and the Find My network with a set of proactive features to discourage unwanted tracking — a first in the industry — and we continue to make improvements to help ensure the technology is being used as intended.
  • Today, for instance, Apple offers a Tracker Detect app for Android users, but it doesn’t work as well as Apple’s own Find My app because it requires users to actively scan for tags, rather than receive proactive warnings and alerts.
  • It also popularized the then-still niche technology of using Bluetooth trackers to find lost items, making the devices for doing so a household name.Soon, stories began to emerge that AirTags were being used for stalking and other concerns, like car theft.
  • “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.”
After numerous cases of Bluetooth trackers like Apples AirTag being used for stalking or other criminal apps, Apple and Google today released a joint announcement saying they will work together to l [+4227 chars]