Samsung copies Apple in adding anti-stalking feature to SmartThings

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Samsung has updated its SmartThings Find service to include an anti-stalking feature, one that Apple is believed to be incorporating in the long-rumored "AirTags."

Updated on Tuesday, the SmartThings changes add a number of elements to Samsung's connected device platform, with the main focus being on Find, its location-based tool for relocating devices. Similar in concept to Apple's Find My, SmartThings Find can be used to locate registered Galaxy smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and earbuds, as well as things using the Galaxy SmartTag.

In the list of updates, Samsung includes something called the "Unknown Tag Search feature," which is intended to detect nearby Galaxy SmartTags and other related devices that are moving with the user, but aren't registered to them. Such trackers could be an attempt by someone else to secretly keep tabs on the person's movements, without their knowledge.

The feature is extremely similar to "Item Safety Features" found in iOS betas since November 2020. The feature was believed to allow the user to be alerted if they were seemingly carrying an "AirTag" that didn't belong to them, and to suggest that the user could contact law enforcement over the tracking.

Samsung's other Find-related change is the ability to use Bixby to perform SmartTag searches hands-free. For example, a user could ask Bixby "Where's my bike?" to refer to a tag associated with that object, which can trigger Bixby to make the tag ring out a noise.

Much like Apple's use of encryption for Find My, Samsung's SmartThings Find encrypts user data with a randomized private ID, one that changes every 15 minutes.

The timing of the update's release could be intended as a spoiler for Apple's "Spring Loaded" event occurring later in the day. Among the products anticipated to launch are "AirTags," Apple's smart tag for item tracking within the Find My app.

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