by Jason Snell
Apple, Google propose ‘unwanted tracking’ standard
Apple and Google posted a rare joint press release Tuesday regarding a new initiative to stop using devices like AirTags from being used for unwanted tracking:
Today Apple and Google jointly submitted a proposed industry specification to help combat the misuse of Bluetooth location-tracking devices for unwanted tracking. The first-of-its-kind specification will allow Bluetooth location-tracking devices to be compatible with unauthorized tracking detection and alerts across iOS and Android platforms. Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee have expressed support for the draft specification, which offers best practices and instructions for manufacturers, should they choose to build these capabilities into their products.
The posted IETF draft specifies that devices that discover an unwanted tracker should be able to physically locate it via sound, that such devices make a sound if they’re in motion, and more. While the proposal is from Apple and Google, the press release says that the makers of similar products—Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy, and Pebblebee—have “expressed support” for the proposal.
The goal, ultimately, is to make it so that all iPhones and Android phones can detect all trackers and alert you to their presence. The release includes supportive quotes from the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the Center for Democracy & Technology. According to Apple and Google, the goal is to release the “production implementation” of the specification by the end of the year.