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Apple and Google endorse standard to alert people being tracked by unknown Bluetooth devices

Wed 22 May 2024    
The Brew News Team | 2 min read

On Monday, Apple and Google announced a new feature for iPhone and Android users to receive alerts when an unknown Bluetooth device may be tracking them. The companies have created an industry standard called “Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers.” This feature is now available with Apple’s iOS 17.5 and Google’s Android 6.0+ devices.

Users will receive an “[Item] Found Moving With You” alert if an unknown Bluetooth tracking device is detected moving with them, regardless of the device’s platform.

This initiative follows numerous reports of Bluetooth trackers, like Apple’s AirTags, being misused for stalking. Last May, Apple and Google revealed their collaboration on an industry-wide effort to develop a system to warn users of unwanted Bluetooth tracking.

Apple’s AirTags, initially launched to help users locate items like keys, were also exploited by malicious actors to track individuals. To mitigate this, Apple released the “Tracker Detect” Android app in 2021, enabling non-Apple users to identify nearby unexpected AirTags. The newly announced industry standard provides an OS-level solution to the problem of unwanted Bluetooth trackers.

Several Bluetooth tag manufacturers, including Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee, have agreed that their future tags will support the new standard.

Apple and Google plan to continue collaborating with the Internet Engineering Task Force, a standards organization for the internet, through the Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers working group to further develop and refine this technology.

The introduction of this feature highlights a significant step forward in user safety and privacy. By working together, Apple and Google are setting a new standard for the tech industry, ensuring users are better protected against the misuse of Bluetooth tracking devices. This development underscores the importance of industry cooperation in addressing emerging security concerns and enhancing the overall safety of digital technologies.

With this new standard in place, users can expect increased security and peace of mind, knowing that efforts are being made to prevent the misuse of location-tracking devices and to protect their privacy.

Also read: Google Cloud accidentally deletes UniSuper’s account due to ‘unprecedented misconfiguration’

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