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Wireless location-tracking accessories, like Apple’s AirTags and Google’s upcoming Nest Locator Tags, are designed to help people track down missing items, but they have also led to the emergence of safety issues with unwanted tracking and stalking. There have already been targeted efforts to prevent misuse, such as Apple launching an app to find unknown AirTags, and Tile threatening a $1 million fine for those who misuse its trackers. Now, Google and Apple are teaming up for an overarching solution to combat the misuse of Bluetooth trackers.

The two technology giants have drafted an industry-wide specification that would alert users in the case of unwanted tracking. The system will reportedly allow users to detect the presence of unknown trackers, and send alerts across Android and iOS platforms. The goal of the specification is to build up these existing privacy measures with a universal standard to deter unwanted tracking, and includes best practices for manufacturers to build unwanted tracking capabilities into their products.

The companies are asking for input from other industry participants and advocacy groups, noting that tracker manufacturers like Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee have already expressed interest in the project.

In the meantime, Google and Apple have already submitted a draft through the Internet Engineering Task Force — the companies encourage people to provide feedback. After that, any feedback and will be addressed, and they'll release a production implementation of the spec for unwanted tracking alerts by the end of 2023. After that, we can hope to see these protections arrive for future versions of Android and iOS.