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How Google’s Bluetooth Tracker Detector Works

Google is working on implementing a feature that allows Android users to be alerted to the proximity of unknown Bluetooth devices, such as the Apple AirTag. This new protection tool will be integrated into the Security and Emergencies menu section of the cell phone.

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The protection will be included under the name “Unfamiliar device alerts” (Unknown device alerts), according to specialist Mishaal Rahman, chief technical editor at Esper.

This feature consists of the ability to locate nearby Bluetooth devicesin which case the user will be notified if one of them is spotted “approaching” him.

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In addition, it is possible to activate and deactivate these alerts, and the option to perform a scan again is included together with the number of unknown devices already detected.

This new information comes after the medium 9to5Google identified in March a set of lines of code in an APK build of a Google app that suggested such a feature.

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The objective of this tool is to protect people from the use that can be made of devices such as the Air Tag or similar to track users without consent. Thus, the system will alert if someone hid any such system in a wallet, object or similar to follow each of their movements.

A few days ago the case of uA 19-year-old man who was arrestedaccused of having hidden a Apple Watch in the vehicle of his ex-partner’s car to track his every move.

The incident occurred in Tennessee, United States and is one more example of how technology is sometimes used to stalk people. In that case it was not an AirTag but a smart watch but the problem remains the same.

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It should be noted that this new Google function to detect Bluetooth trackers will come after Tracker Detect, the Apple app launched at the end of 2021 that allows the same functions to be carried out on Android devices as well.

How Tracker Detect works

To search and find objects ranging from a bag to a bicycle or a set of keys, all that is needed is a small tag, called an AirTag, which can be attached to the respective object.

Tracking is done via a phone with the “Search” app installed. AirTags are small (3 centimeters in diameter), thin (0.8 centimeters), light (11 grams). They are also durable, since the battery lasts more than a year, and they are also protected against water and dust.

To prevent it from being used for unwanted harassment or tracking, iPhone users receive a warning on the device screen if the device detects an AirTag stranger in the vicinity.

To protect Android users, AirTags are set to emit an audible warning signal when near someone who isn’t wearing an iPhone. However, the AirTag’s tiny speaker can easily be disabled for malicious purposes.

Probably as a result of this, Apple has a scanning app for AirTag called Tracker Detect, designed to protect Android device users from tracking and harassment attempts.

If Tracker Detect finds an unknown, alien AirTag in the vicinity, it can be commanded through the app to make a sound to help locate it. The app also contains instructions on how to disable third-party AirTags.

Additionally, Apple explains in Tracker Detect how to read an AirTag’s serial number and any loss information stored by the owner. To do this, the accessory uses NFC technology.

(With information from Europe Press)

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