Apple and Google Propose Specification for Unwanted Tracking Devices

From Apple’s Newsroom:

Today Apple and Google jointly submitted a proposed industry specification to help combat the misuse of Bluetooth location-tracking devices for unwanted tracking. 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.

I cannot claim to understand the spec, but it appears to me that it creates a way for unwanted trackers to communicate with a non-owner’s device, not necessarily a means of figuring out whether a tracker is present. In other words, this spec should prevent people from needing to install a bunch of proprietary detection apps. How a device differentiates between legitimate and creepy uses of trackers is something left to a platform’s “unwanted tracking algorithms”.

Look for a software update later this year which brings this tracking protection to Android and iOS. The Canadian version of this press release is inexplicably different and contains no such pledge.