Google and Apple are closer to making AirTags stalker free

    AirTags are one of the more useful inventions Apple has brought us. Can’t find your luggage? Check the AirTag. Can’t find your keys? Check the AirTag. Dog ran away? Check their AirTag. 

    But AirTags, like many new tech products, also came with a bit of a warning flag — what can be used to track your belongings can also be used to track people without their knowledge or permission. People can sneak AirTags into unwitting victims’ bags, pockets, and cars and track them as long as the AirTag stays with them. After it was apparent these tools were being used for stalking, Apple came up with a way to detect unknown AirTags if they’re moving along with you — but that only works if you have an Apple iPhone.

    There are dozens of different kinds of Bluetooth tracking devices, too, that it can’t alert you to, leaving a pretty gaping hole for stalkers to walk right through.


    How to get alerts for unknown AirTags on an Android

    Earlier this year, at Google I/O 2023, Google and Apple announced that they were working together in a rare joint effort in order to reign in unwanted tracking via Bluetooth tags like AirTags, whether you have an Android or an iOS device. The duo was going to create an overarching industry standard to detect the trackers with no extra app downloads, and pretty much all companies that created their own trackers — Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee, among them — signed on. It was great news. We all rejoiced. Then we were faced with relative radio silence.

    On Wednesday, tech journalist Mishaal Rahman discovered that we might actually be getting the solution we were promised. 

    “Version 01 of the ‘Detecting Unwanted Location Trackers’ specification has just been uploaded to the IETF,” Rahman posted on X. The IETF is the Internet Engineering Task Force. He went on to write that “Apple is allegedly waiting for this specification to be finalized before rolling out unwanted tracker alerts in iOS. Google says that it’s waiting on Apple to do that before it rolls out the Find My Device Network on Android.”

    It’s not clear when, exactly, this will roll out. But it’s likely that we’ll be seeing a lot more privacy with regard to our Bluetooth trackers in 2024.

    Read the full article here

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