Apple and Google announced an alliance where the two companies and several others would band together and create an industry standard to help prevent unwanted tracking with AirTag and other Bluetooth tracking devices.
Since first being released in 2021, Apple’s AirTag quickly gained popularity for tracking items, pets, luggage, bikes, keys, and more. However, the small $30 coin-sized trackers quickly gained negative attention due to unwanted stalking. Bad actors were tossing them in purses and putting them on cars to steal later, leading Apple to release several privacy-related software updates.
To make matters worse, initially, Apple didn’t let them play nice with the millions of Android devices and phones on the market. Apple eventually released an AirTags Android app at the end of 2021. Google started working on integrating BT tracker notifications and other alerts directly into the Android operating system.
Earlier this year, Tile started threatening would-be stalkers with huge fines if caught using Tile trackers for stalking, and we’ve seen several other moves by all parties involved to combat the problem. And with rumors that Google could release its own trackers later this year, this move makes sense.
Now, it looks like Apple, Google, Tile, Samsung, Chipolo, Eufy, and several safety and advocacy groups are all joining forces to form a new specification and industry standard “to help combat the misuse of Bluetooth location-tracking devices for unwanted tracking.”
According to Apple and Google’s joint press release, the two are working on production software that will implement “unauthorized tracking detection and alerts” for iOS and Android. Party members can suggest ideas, add feedback, and help shape this new industry specification standard.
It sounds like everyone is working together on a solution. Furthermore, we expect to learn more at Google’s annual developer event, which is right around the corner, and expect some built-in detection features when Android 14 officially arrives later this summer.
Source: Apple, Google