Apple and Google partner to fight unwanted location tracking

Image Source: Apple Newsroom

Tech giants Apple and Google announced on Tuesday that they have joined forces to fight unwanted tracking of users through location tracking devices like AirTags.

While Bluetooth tracking devices make it quite easy to find items they’re connected to, they are also used by scammers for malicious activities. In order to prevent their misuse, the companies have together submitted a proposed industry specification that will require such devices to be compatible with unauthorized tracking detection and send alerts to Android & iOS users when their locations are being tracked.

The draft specification was created with feedback from device manufacturers, safety and advocacy groups in mind, the duo said in their announcement post, adding that they received support from firms like Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee.

Ron Huang, Apple’s VP of Sensing and Connectivity, 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.

Dave Burke, Google’s VP of Engineering for Android, commented: “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.

This is not the first time Apple is taking measures to prevent the misuse of its popular AirTags. Back in 2020, the iPhone-maker updated its ‘Find My’ safety feature to automatically prevent stalking with AirTags. In late 2021, it also launched an Android detector app named ‘’Tracker Detect’’ to help users scan and find tracker devices that could be around them without their knowledge.

And this is not the first time the duo is coming together to stop the misuse of location tracking. In May 2020, they banned the use of location tracking in mobile apps that use a contact tracing system to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

Written by Tuna Cetin


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