Tile takes extreme measures to prevent stalkers and thieves from using its Bluetooth trackers • AapkaDost

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Apple took a big PR hit when news spread that its item tracker, the AirTag, was being used for stalking and car theft, prompting the company to redesign its software with more of a focus on user safety. AirTag’s competitor Tile is now introducing its own plan to make its device more secure, launching a new feature called “anti-theft mode,” which prevents the tracker from being detected by anyone other than its owner. But it goes a bit further and now requires users to register using multi-factor authentication, including biometrics, and a government ID to use this new protection. Users will also be required to agree to new terms of use that allow Tile to disclose their personal information to law enforcement in its sole discretion when a criminal investigation is underway, without having to wait for a subpoena. And it threatens to sue anyone who uses Tile to commit crimes that violate its terms of service.

The purpose of this new agenda is to act as a deterrent to criminals who may otherwise have turned to non-AirTag devices following Apple’s crackdown, including for stalking, theft, or other criminal acts. However, it’s unclear whether Tile’s position of “working strongly” with law enforcement, as the announcement states, is one that fully protects people’s rights to due process — a court order, subpoena, search warrant, or some sort of legal request should be issued before a company simply hands over the user’s personal and private information.

“Location sharing and finding has become part of our daily fabric and it’s not going anywhere. We develop products for the vast majority of people who use them as intended, and for those who don’t, we are committed to fully cooperating with law enforcement,” said Chris Hulls, co-founder and CEO of Life 360, whose company Tile for $205. million by 2021, in a statement. “To meaningfully address stalking with technology, we need to implement security measures such as ID recording of all location-enabled devices that are small enough to be placed on a person so that law enforcement has information to pursue justice for victims. to strive. In the meantime, we will do what we can at the product level to protect people from the outrageous cases of bad actors, while increasing the chances of recovering stolen items with Tile to help people live more relaxed lives,” he said.

But the deterrent can come across as a threat to all Tile users, not just criminals. Mention the company,”users must acknowledge that personal information can and will be shared with law enforcement at their discretion, even without a subpoena, to assist in the investigation and prosecution of suspected stalking.

Meanwhile, the new anti-theft mode tackles theft by making Tile’s tracker invisible to anyone trying to use the Scan and Secure feature to scan for trackers on the stolen goods. This allows the victim to continue tracking their item, but makes it more difficult for the thief to find a hidden tracker or tag when committing a crime.

Tile now requires anyone who wants to activate anti-theft mode to authenticate themselves with multi-factor authentication, including biometrics, and their government-issued ID. It also says its technology can detect fake IDs. Once completed, anti-theft mode can be enabled on all of the user’s devices. The company says that requiring users to register their accounts with an ID removes the anonymity associated with trackers, which deters stalkers and abusers from using these devices in such a way.

In addition, the new terms of service allow Tile to sue anyone convicted in court of stalking using its trackers. The identity verification process makes prosecution easier, it says, and this also serves as a deterrent. It says it would seek a $1 million fine (although, of course, that’s for the courts to decide.) The company explains that lawsuits are expensive, but there are so few cases of stalking with Tile devices that it decided to be willing to be taking this on. The threat of the fine would also act as a deterrent, Tile believes.

Announcing the news, Tile calls Apple’s technology as “inadequate protection” for victims and claims that the proactive alerts Apple sends will make AirTag trackers easier for anyone, including thieves, to find in an effort to steal the product. to discredit Apple. But by trying to balance consumer demand with security protection, it positions itself as a pro-law enforcement company as both a marketing ploy and a deterrent, at a time when people’s trust in law enforcement has plummeted. It is not clear whether consumers will respond well to this, even if they are not criminals.

Combined, the changes come across as an over-correction on Tile’s part. Until recently, Tile may have looked like a viable alternative for criminals, as it had no anti-stalking security technology at all until last March, and even then the tools weren’t as comprehensive as what Apple provided. Instead, Tile’s Scan and Secure technology, designed to detect unknown trackers traveling with a person, missed an accurate find, took longer to perform the scans, and had to be triggered manually. It hasn’t sent proactive alerts about trackers traveling with you.

But instead of implementing similar technical upgrades to compete with Apple, Tile requires more personal data from users and threats.

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