May 25, 2022

Lost tracking system and AirTag competitor Tile today introduced its first anti-stalking feature called Scan and Protect. The technology was first announced in October with a promised release date of early 2022. Using the Tile mobile app, users can now scan for unknown Tile devices or Tile-compatible devices that may be traveling with them. The company notes that users don’t need to own Tile or be part of the Tile search network to take advantage of the new technology — it’s available to anyone on both iOS and Android.

To use Scan & Secure, users must use the latest version of the Tile app. Bluetooth, Location Services or Location Services on their mobile device and Pinpoint Location must be turned on. The tile says users will be prompted in the mobile app if they need to change these or other permission settings for the feature to work.

image credit: tile

After the update, new users can click on the new scan icon in the upper right corner of the app login screen to access this feature. Existing users can also access Scan & Secure through the app’s settings.

The scanning process does not provide an accurate search tool that would allow people to find a Tile device near them. Instead, Tile notes that users need to walk or even drive a certain distance in order to work from their original location. Tile says it can take up to 10 minutes straight to complete a full scan and provide the most accurate results. This won’t work if you’re moving around your house or in a crowded place like public transport where it can detect other tiles nearby.

The results of the scan will be displayed in the app upon completion, which Tile advises users to turn over to the police. The company notes that users may want to run multiple scans to rule out the possibility of devices that may have been scanned for a short time rather than devices that actually travel with them. He also suggests using images when scanning to try and detect devices based on their appearance. Unfortunately, it is likely that some users will have difficulty finding well-hidden devices without the ability to search accurately.

image credit: tile

The company says it will work with law enforcement through court orders to identify owners of devices used in criminal activities such as stalking.

The Tile scan and protect feature is not as comprehensive as the set of tools available from Apple to protect AirTag. After countless stories of using AirTags to chase and even steal cars, Apple has updated its AirTags and Find My Network with improved alerts and alerts. These include a warning to potential stalkers that Apple may identify them and share that data with law enforcement, as well as more detailed proactive warnings to potential stalkers. And Apple said it will allow users to find Airtags traveling with them using precise search capabilities and loud alerts through a later update, updated documentation, and will allow users to find devices with disabled speakers.

Scanning and protection will roll out gradually to Tile mobile app users in the coming weeks, but will be available to anyone with or without a Tile account on iOS and Android.

The company noted that it consulted with security experts about the new functionality, who said it would be useful to allow users to initiate scans themselves, especially since about 70% of victims have their own “Know the intruder” feature. Many of them are also companions of their prey.

“If someone is a victim of domestic violence and, for example, is preparing to leave their partner, it is helpful to be able to choose the safest time and place to actively investigate. Find out if he has any tools that can follow his partner. Location,” said Erika Olsen, director of the National Network for the Elimination of Domestic Violence’s Safety Net project. “Giving control into your hands is an important part of improving security,” she said.

Harassment-related privacy concerns have plagued Tile in recent months with reports that Tile’s new parent company, Life360, was selling customer data to a location broker. Following an investigation, Life360 said it would stop the practice.

Tile said it will continue to work with other experts and advocacy groups to develop its security features over time.

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