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Samsung SmartTag update is designed to defeat stalkers

(Pocket-lint) – Samsung has announced an update to SmartThings Find – the application used to manage its Galaxy SmartTag tracker – that will help boost your privacy.

The Galaxy SmartTag is a Bluetooth tracker, designed to help you find your belongings if you lose them. It uses your phone to provide the location, so if you lose it, you’ll have a record of the last place you had it.

Other Galaxy phones can anonymously detect tags and pass that location data back to the user to aid in finding lost devices.

That’s all great – until someone hypothetically slips a GalaxyTag into your backpack because they want to track you. That person would then be able to use SmartThings Find to locate that tracker – and potentially find out where you’ve gone.

Samsung has pushed an update to SmartThings to deal with this problem and will allow an Unknown Tag Search. This will locate GalaxyTags that you don’t know, but that appear to be moving with you.

That would then let you know that you’re carrying a tag that you shouldn’t be – potentially put there to track you, or perhaps just because you picked up something that isn’t yours.

The important detail here is “moving with you”, because to allow searching of unknown tags would undermine the principle of anonymity and let you search for things that aren’t yours. It’s a manual search, which is better than nothing, but in reality, this should be automated, giving you a notification if you appear to be moving with a Tag that you don’t recognise.

Of course – if you’re not a Samsung Galaxy user, you’ll have no way of searching, should anyone decide that they want to track you. The flip side of this equation is that if you’re not a Galaxy user, your phone won’t be constantly reporting the location of the tracker planted on you back to the owner.

Samsung GalaxyTags only work with Galaxy devices and the Galaxy Find network – but you can see how this could be a much bigger problem for a company like Apple.

If the rumoured Apple AirTags can be located by all iPhone users, slipping the AirTag into a pocket or back of anyone with an iPhone would potentially let you track their location.

Writing by Chris Hall.

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