Today, Apple and Google announced an initiative for an industry specification to address unwanted tracking with AirTag and other item-tracker accessories that will work between iOS and Android platforms. This is yet another step to prevent people from misusing these devices to track people without their knowledge.
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.
“Apple launched AirTag to give users the peace of mind of knowing where to find their most important items,” said Ron Huang, Apple’s vice president of Sensing and Connectivity. “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.”
In addition to incorporating feedback from device manufacturers, input from various safety and advocacy groups has been integrated into the development of the specification.
The specification has been submitted as an Internet-Draft via the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a leading standards development organization. Interested parties are invited and encouraged to review and comment over the next three months. Following the comment period, Apple and Google will partner to address feedback and will release a production implementation of the specification for unwanted tracking alerts by the end of 2023 that will then be supported in future versions of iOS and Android.