The AirTag has been announced by Apple.
"Apple today introduced AirTag, a small and elegantly designed accessory that helps keep track of and find the items that matter most with Apple’s Find My app. Whether attached to a handbag, keys, backpack, or other items, AirTag taps into the vast, global Find My network1 and can help locate a lost item, all while keeping location data private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption. AirTag can be purchased in one and four packs for just $29 and $99, respectively, and will be available beginning Friday, April 30. "
And I think the real key element here is the use of Find My App / Find My Network.
Apparently this leverages the vast, mostly unknown, network that Apple has where every device from them with Bluetooth on contributes to the Find My network. Meaning, even if you don't own a AirTag, but you happen to have Bluetooth on and are near an AirTag, your phone will send and receive data to share the location with the network.
No opt-in. No opt-out besides leaving Bluetooth off.
Though I've definitely been one to lose my keys or backpack and wish I had something like an AirTag or its predecessor called Tile I am wholly uncomfortable that they are using my device to communicate with other people's devices creating a large mesh network with no knowledge of my participation.
This is being discussed on Hacker News right now and other sites too. The benefit seems cool and huge, but much like Amazon's announcement several months ago about its Sidewalk feature, I feel like there will be a backlash.
I'd love to hear what others think because my initial reaction is revulsion. And I'm seeing mixed thoughts on articles concerning it. To me it is without my consent and if it weren't for a single device in my home I use Bluetooth for from my iPhone I would definitely have it turned off all the time.
Why isn't there active, positive consent to participate in this?
Why isn't this theft of resources, although minimal, to participate in this?
Do we really want to participate more in the already egregious tracking done by just participating in having a smart phone?