Geofencing used by Tampa Police

by Michael Abdoney - 07/22/2022 -Tampa

What is a Geofence?

A geo-fence is a virtual geographic border set up using GPS or RFID technology to allow the software to respond when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular place.

Geofencing is the practice of using a mobile device's location to create a virtual boundary. When an individual enters a building, visits a place, enters or leaves a building, google automatically collects and stores that instance.

How Easy is This?

This is a very easy process. As long as a phone's cellular network is connected to a gadget, the WIFI, or mobile data, link with other gadgets and computers is established in the Internet of Things. That means we are always connected, virtually. Google is continuously picking up our location, what we say, the sites we visit, and virtually everything we do through our phones.

This stored information, especially real-time location, is the one that geofencing technology uses.

Geofencing in Tampa by Police for Crime Investigation

Like several other cities, the Tampa police department has embraced the use of this technology with the sole purpose of solving crime. When a crime has occurred, and the police don't have the suspect's identity, they result in geofencing.

They spy suspects using the data collected and carry out investigations to nail the suspect with evidence of identity.

How Does It Work in Tampa?

The police get a warrant and proceed to request for geofenced data. They request Google to provide them with the complete data details of all the people who have been in a particular place. Anybody and everybody who was in a given radius entered or left the area of a particular building or even drove or cycled by get involved. Their information is forwarded to the law enforcement.

Then the police start to sift through the data captured, including phone numbers, their occupation, how long they were around, their private conversation, and transactions.

The benefit of Geofencing in Solving Crimes

The major benefit of this practice is that when there is no known suspect, the data will most often provide a lead and arrest of the prime suspect. This is a breakthrough technology that cannot be ignored in solving crimes.

The Disadvantages of Geofencing

The main disadvantage of using geofencing to solve crime is that there is every possibility that innocent passers-by get involved or even suspected. The trauma, the heat, the stress, and the inconvenience that such an innocent victim is put through are unimaginable. By the time one is cleared, the damage is already done.

The practice is potentially viewed as unconstitutional. Access to geofenced data without proper warrants can sometimes be subjected to constitutional questions. This hampers the process and, at the same time, opens the police department to legal consequences for violating personal data privacy policy.

Solution: The Way Forward

Everyone agrees that this technology helps control and bring crime suspects to book. However, this must be done within the confines of the law which does get a little sketchy in the 21st century.