Apple and Google have joined forces to prevent unwanted tracking through devices like AirTags and other Bluetooth trackers.
Apple and Google have unveiled a new collaborative proposal for an industry-standard protocol that would help prevent unwanted monitoring via devices. According to the official announcement, “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.”
“Apple launched AirTag to give users the peace of mind knowing where to find their most important items. 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,” said Ron Huang, Apple’s vice president of Sensing and Connectivity.
The announcement added that Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee have also given their support for the draft specification. The tech giants have also gathered inputs from several safety and advocacy groups to develop the specification, on top of getting feedback from device manufacturers.
“Bluetooth trackers have created tremendous user benefits, but they also bring the potential of unwanted tracking, which requires industrywide action to solve. 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, Google’s vice president of Engineering for Android.
Apple and Google shared the specification via IETF
The two tech giants shared the specification as an internet draft via the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). They are also open for newcomers for the next three months, interested parties are invited.
The New York Mayor recently announced that the city will be giving out 500 free AirTags to fight car theft. If used properly, these devices can help solve many problems, but on the other side of the medallion, things are different.
Both companies will collaborate to address feedback, and by the end of 2023, they will release a production implementation of the specification for unwanted tracking alerts, which will then be supported in future versions of iOS and Android.