Privacy Protect: Geofencing, a privacy issue or blessing?

With location based services winning quickly in popularity, we have to consider the possible privacy issues it might cause. Since a few years geofencing is being used more often to actually protect data, therefore maybe even increase privacy.

Geofencing is from a technical point of view, the combination of GPS latitude, longitude and a configured radius. In other words, some place on our planet together with an imaginary circle drawn around it.

Monitor your children

If you have kids, geofencing can help in monitoring your kid’s presence. For example if your kid enters or exits a “trusted” zone, like coming home. But since it can also be used for “spying” on grownups, one might wonder the possible privacy violations.

Protect data from leaking

For example Flickr introduced geofencing to protect photos. User can define privacy settings and assign a geofence to a picture. This way only people familiar to the region (and inside the geofence) can see the exact location details, while others can not.

Additional layer of security

Geofencing can also be used to make sure a person is actually in the surroundings where he/she is supposed to be. Multi-factor authentication would then be possible by providing your username and password and additionally be in the right location. It could also be used to limit password resets and restrict them to your users who are actually in the office.