Apple and Google have joined forces to push for new industry standards designed to stop harassment via Bluetooth-enabled location tracking devices.

THE new draft specification unveiled today by the two tech giants proposes that vendors making devices that may enable unwanted tracking make it easier to alert targeted individuals when it happens.

“The first-of-its-kind specification will enable Bluetooth location tracking devices to be compatible with unauthorized tracking detection and alerts on iOS and Android platforms,” Apple And Google said in coordinated press releases issued today.

“Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security and Pebblebee have expressed support for the draft specification, which offers best practices and guidance for manufacturers should they choose to integrate these features into their products.”

If manufacturers adopt the proposed new technical standard, it will ensure compatibility with Android and iOS unwanted tracking detection and alert technology.

This will make detection of unwanted tracking via misused location tracking accessories much simpler since iOS and Android devices will be able to alert users that a location tracker is being used to monitor their activities via “Bluetooth crowd-sourcing, GPS/ GNSS location, WiFi location, cellular location or by any other means.”

“We’ve built AirTag and the Find My Network with a proactive feature set to discourage unwanted tracking – an industry first – and we continue to make improvements to ensure the technology is used as intended,” said Ron Huang, vice president of Apple. detection and connectivity, said.

“This new industry specification builds on AirTag protections and, through collaboration with Google, is a critical step forward to help combat unwanted tracking on iOS and Android.”

Search and Disable some tracking devices

Apple already allows users to find nearby AirTag or AirPod devices that could be misused to track individuals through features integrated with the iOS platform and through a dedicated Android app.

The Android app can help detect item trackers within Bluetooth range, separated from their owner and compatible with Apple’s Find My network.

The company also provides information on deactivation AirTag, AirPods or third-party network search accessories so that their owner no longer receives location updates.

Despite Apple’s efforts to make it easier to detect these devices and to combat harassment, victims often have problems finding such devices as they are usually notified that they are being tracked with delays of up to 12 hours. like a New York Times report revealed over a year ago.

“Bluetooth trackers have created tremendous benefits for users, but also bring the potential for unwanted tracking, which requires industry-wide action to address,” added Dave Burke, Vice President engineering at Google for Android.

“Android has an unwavering commitment to protecting users and will continue to develop strong protections and work with industry to help combat the misuse of Bluetooth tracking devices.”


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