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Apple and Google have joined forces to address unwanted tracking with their new partnership, which was announced in a press release on Tuesday. The two tech giants are creating a draft specification to help users combat unwanted tracking by AirTags and other Bluetooth item trackers.
Apple’s native iOS features already offer a strong set of tools to counter unwanted tracking and stalking with AirTag item trackers. However, these features are not available to third-party item tracker companies like Tile. Apple does offer a “Tracker Detect” app to locate nearby AirTags with an Android device, but it only scans a user’s surroundings when the user initiates the scan.
The new technology developed by Apple and Google aims to address these limitations by creating a specification to help combat the misuse of item trackers. This specification has been submitted as an Internet-Draft via the Internet Engineering Task Force. It will allow Bluetooth location-tracking devices to be compatible with unauthorized tracking detection and alerts across iOS and Android.
Several companies, including Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, Eufy, and Pebblebee, have expressed interest in supporting this technology. Apple and Google will solicit feedback from other players in the industry as they continue to develop and refine the technology.
The draft specification offers best practices and instructions for manufacturers who choose to build these capabilities into their products. According to Ron Huang, Apple’s vice president of Sensing and Connectivity, “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”.
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Apple and Google plan to release a production implementation of the specification for unwanted tracking alerts by the end of 2023. The technology will then be supported in future versions of iOS and Android.
The partnership between Apple and Google is a significant step forward in addressing unwanted tracking by item trackers. The two tech giants are setting an industry standard to help users protect their privacy and security when using Bluetooth location-tracking devices. With several companies expressing interest in supporting this technology, it is clear that there is a growing demand for better protection against unwanted tracking.