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What is Geofencing and how does it affect your privacy?

One thing is clear, they control our movements and our location more and more. On some occasion you may have wondered how an advertiser is able to send pop-up windows with your location. One of the most popular ways is through our smartphones that obtain the data of our current location thanks to GPS. This information can be used in a variety of ways, including geolocation, a technology that has become popular with advertisers and other companies that want to track the location of customers’ devices. In this aspect, although smartphones are the most used for this matter, they are not the only ones. In this article we are going to talk about what Geofencing is and how it affects your privacy

What is Geofencing

The geofencing we can define it as a technology that uses the location information of a smart device, such as GPS, RFID or Wi-Fi, to track if a device is inside or outside a fence. The latter refers to a virtual boundary around an area in the real world.

As for the purposes, it can be for security, location tracking or advertising. These areas are often large, ranging from hundreds of square meters to a neighborhood, a town, or an entire province.

Geofencing is being used for car security. Some companies offer a new service where you can set our car in an area around our work and where we live. In the case of leaving that area, it may be because the thieves are taking our car and the system can alert you. Also in some cases we could stop our car remotely.

By tracking a phone, it is often possible to trace a person. With geofencing, it is possible to target ads or promotions based on the GPS data of a specific user’s smartphone. For example, a business may send us a pop-up notification from an app when we walk by one of their stores. Another way to operate can be to use it to serve ads based on where a customer lives.

The devices they can use to locate us

obviously ours smartphone is the main source of information for geofencing. We find ourselves with a device that we almost always have close by and that we rarely leave at home. As we have already mentioned before, thanks to the GPS, it can fundamentally locate us easily.

However, there are other devices connected via Wi-Fi to the Internet that can also detect our location. One of them is the IP cameras whose security if violated can endanger both our location, privacy and security. This type of device has evolved a lot and has a complex learning algorithm that can distinguish the presence of people, vehicles and animals. In this aspect, it can detect if we or our pet are at home. If you know it’s us, we’ll already be located. You may be interested in some tips to protect your IP camera from intruders.

Geofencing can also be applied with the home alarms. In this aspect, it must be commented that simply activating or deactivating that alarm can indicate whether or not we are at home. Not to mention that they also usually have video surveillance cameras.

How to avoid geofencing

One of the formulas that we can use is on our smartphone or other smart device is disable GPS location tracking. It’s usually as simple as going to our configuration settings, selecting the settings for Location and turn off GPS location tracking. Also, some devices have this option in the settings section. Privacy or Security.

We also have to review apps that we have installed, especially the shopping ones. You have to look at those apps that we can have on our mobile how they have the location or geolocation permission established. On the other hand, the using a VPN We may hide our public IP from advertisers and other data tracking companies. If we use an active VPN we can configure our location by connecting to a server that is not where we live.

In short, with the VPN active and GPS location tracking disabled, we will make geofencing difficult for advertisers who will not have reliable information about our location.

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