Apple and Google are collaborating on a plan to make Bluetooth trackers like AirTags even more secure

(CNN) Apple and Google are working together on a new industry-wide effort to help reduce the risk of Bluetooth devices like AirTags being used for unwanted tracking after a number of reports of these products enabling stalking.

The companies announced a joint proposal on Tuesday for new technical specifications for manufacturers to include in future products. It would allow location-tracking devices to implement “unauthorized tracking detection and alerts” and work on both iOS and Android platforms.

The goal, according to the proposal, is to enable “unwanted tracking detection” on these devices that “can detect and alert individuals that a location tracker separate from the owner’s device is traveling with them.” It also “provides a means to find and disable the tracker”.

In a press release, Google and Apple said that manufacturers including Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee have expressed support for the draft specification.

“This new industry specification builds on AirTag protection, and by collaborating with Google leads to a critical step forward to help combat unwanted tracking across iOS and Android,” said Ron Huang, Apple’s vice president of Sensors and Communications.

The companies added that they have incorporated feedback and insights from device manufacturers, as well as safety and advocacy groups, into developing the specifications. The companies said the proposal has been submitted for review to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a standards development organization.

In 2021, Apple launched AirTag, a $29 tile-like Bluetooth locator that connects and helps users find items such as keys, wallets, laptops, or even a car by giving almost anything a digital fingerprint, enabling finding them on the map. But shortly after its launch, some experts warned that the devices could be used to track individuals without their consent.

Late last year, two women sued Apple alleging that their former romantic partners used the company’s AirTag devices to track their whereabouts, potentially putting their safety at risk. separately , In June 2022, an Indiana woman allegedly used one to track down and eventually kill her boyfriend over an alleged affair, according to reports. AirTags are also allegedly used to steal cars.

Over time, Apple has worked with safety groups and law enforcement agencies to identify more ways to update its AirTag’s security warnings, including alerting people sooner if it suspects a tiny Bluetooth tracker is tracking someone.

Location trackers are nothing new. The issue of unwanted tracking “has also been around long before AirTags were on the market,” Erica Olsen, safety net project manager for the National Network to End Domestic Violence told CNN last year.

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