Apple, Google working together to stop unauthorized AirTag tracking

Apple and Google announced on Tuesday that they will work together to prevent location-tracking devices — such as the AirTag — from being used to track people without their permission.

The tech companies banded together to draft an “industry specification to help combat the misuse of Bluetooth location-tracking devices for unwanted tracking,” according to a press release.

The specification will allow the location-tracking devices to be compatible with unauthorized tracking detection and alerts, which will allow users to be notified if they are being tracked by an AirTag.

Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee have all expressed support for the draft specification, according to the release.

The Apple AirTag is a coin-size device that allows a user to track the whereabouts of their technology in real-time on an iPhone app. However, the device has been utilized for more nefarious reasons, with multiple users reporting that it has been used for stalking since it went on sale in 2021, according to CNBC.

While the AirTag and iPhone app has been set up with proactive features to discourage unwanted tracking, the draft will suggest that Android users will also soon gain the same protections.

“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,” Ron Huang, Apple’s vice president of Sensing and Connectivity, said in the press release.

“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,” he added.

The proposed industry specification will also allow other lost item trackers, like those made by Samsung or Tile, to build upon the iPhone and Android alert features.

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