Apple and Google team up to address Unwanted Tracking

Modern gadgets and continuous advancements in technology definitely help make things in our daily lives easier, but in some instances, such devices and tech can also be used the wrong way, unfortunately.

When it comes to helping people find their personal items such as their wallet, keys, luggage and just about anything through crowdsourced finding networks, location-tracking devices are the solution for that. However, these can also be misused by some individuals for tracking other people without their knowledge and consent.

On May 2, Tuesday, Apple and Google submitted a joint proposal regarding “industry specification to help fight against the misuse of Bluetooth location-tracking devices for unwanted tracking.” The first of its kind, the specification will make Bluetooth location-tracking devices become compatible with unauthorized tracking detection and alerts across Android and iOS platforms.

Chipolo, eufy Security, Pebblebee, Samsung and Tile have voiced their support for this draft specification, which lays out best practices and instructions for manufacturers, should they decide to build these capabilities into their products.

Apple’s VP of Sensing and Connectivity Ron Huang said:

“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.”

Google’s vice president of Engineering for Android Dave Burke said:

“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.”

Both Apple and Google will release a production implementation of the specification for unwanted tracking alerts by this year’s end, which will then be supported in future versions of Android and iOS.