Although not a new practice, the application of geofencing continues to increase in sophistication and expand into personal space on an unprecedented scale, jumping beyond commercial retail advertising schemes and diving into the depths of employment, health care, law enforcement, and politics. As the growth of these applications prompt privacy and security concerns, including government surveillance concerns, regulations lag and may be further delayed considering lawmakers’ very use of geofencing to win a governing seat.
Geofencing is the practice of using wireless internet, cellular data, global positioning system (GPS) or radio-frequency identification (RFID), or a combination of such technologies, to create a virtual boundary around a particular geographic area. When a smart-phone, tablet, or other targeted device crosses over the geofence perimeter, it triggers a response from the geofence software. So-called “active” geofencing technology powers things like home applications or “apps” that automatically adjust ambient temperature and lighting when a person enters their house. “Passive” geofencing technology is used to both (1) push advertising and other information to consumers through social media apps and other channels and (2) monitor or pull information about a consumer’s habits. Continue Reading Mending (Geo)fencing Concerns