Apple and Google are working together to address the issues surrounding the use of AirTags and other Bluetooth trackers.
Apple introduced the AirTag as a way for users to easily track items, such as purses, wallets, luggage, and more. Unfortunately, the devices have been misused and “become the weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers.” Despite Apple’s issues combating AirTag misuse, Google is apparently working on its own take on AirTags.
The two companies evidently see the benefit of working to address the misuse of Bluetooth trackers, expanding their efforts to third-party trackers as well, according to a press release.
Today Apple and Google jointly submitted a proposed industry specification to help combat the misuse of Bluetooth location-tracking devices for unwanted tracking. The first-of-its-kind specification will allow Bluetooth location-tracking devices to be compatible with unauthorized tracking detection and alerts across iOS and Android platforms. Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee have expressed support for the draft specification, which offers best practices and instructions for manufacturers, should they choose to build these capabilities into their products.
“Apple launched AirTag to give users the peace of mind knowing where to find their most important items,” said Ron Huang, Apple’s vice president of Sensing and Connectivity. “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. 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.”
“Bluetooth trackers have created tremendous user benefits, but they also bring the potential of unwanted tracking, which requires industrywide action to solve,” said Dave Burke, Google’s vice president of Engineering for Android. “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.”
The two companies have submitted the specification through the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The two companies are committed to working together on a production implementation of the final specification.