Some Privacy Ground Rules For Location-Based Marketing: Why ‘Geofencing’ Goes Too Far


Matt Silk is the SVP of Waterfall Mobile, a San Francisco-based digital-messaging company.

Location-based services are getting an enormous amount of attention lately, with the launch of Google


Jason Finkelstein


Great article. We’re 100% with you on the importance of privacy around LBS.

Of course, Waterfall already knows this as a Veriplace partner, but we’re huge advocates of giving end-users total transparency into how their information is used… and we don’t stop there. Visibility is important, but it is often not enough. Control is key as well – the ability to turn off location at any time, for example. Without this control, misuse of data could run rampant and damage the end user trust that brands have worked so hard to build.

Also, a comment on your thoughts about geofencing… there are ways to do geofencing in a “privacy sensitive” fashion. For example, companies that use geofencing can sign up to be alerted when a geofence is triggered as opposed to having the constant stream of location data. Again, Veriplace is all about complete transparency, so an end user could see if a marketer is requesting a constant stream of data or is just notified when a geofence is triggered. This way, the end user can have total visibility and make an informed decision about what they want to share. That is, they can know what the marketer sees, shut off access to location at any time, and even delete their location history if they want.

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Nageena Vijayan

Hi Matt,

Very interesting article. I guess mobile operators have to play a proactive role to ensure that mobile medium is not abused by enforcing centralised privacy rules – say for example, one message per day or something like that.

Peter Cranstone

We architected a solution that allows the customer to control all of their private data on Mobile. If they “trust” the provider they can provide real time GPS location with a simple check of a box. Everything is seamlessly integrated into the browser and the location and other meta data is available to the web server /content provider anytime the user opens there web page.

5o9 Inc.

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