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Getting Around a Geofence: Is It Possible?

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 3/27/2011

Getting around a geofence may seem impossible, but technically, it is doable. You just have to know the loopholes in the technology and you'll find a way to get around it.

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    Satellite icon A geofence is a virtual perimeter that surrounds a certain location that can be as small as a car or as large as an entire country. It is used to track GPS receivers like cell phones and GPS chips carried by or embedded in certain devices, vehicles or even people. A geofence is also used to restrict computers with certain IP addresses from accessing web content contained in servers within a virtual perimeter. This type of geofence is typically used by web sites hosted in certain countries to prevent other countries from accessing their content. Getting around a geofence, regardless of its type, can be quite a challenge, but it is possible.

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    Geofence by GPS

    By definition, a virtual perimeter goes all the way around a location, forming a solid fence. It may seem impossible to get around this kind of enclosure. Technically, GPS devices can go beyond the perimeter without setting off any kind of notification relevant to the geofence such as email messages or text messages. However, since GPS devices are not always reliable due to the nature of GPS signals that come from satellites, there is a chance that GPS devices can go through the geofence without getting detected. If you want to do this, turning off your GPS is your best bet in beating the geofence. You have to remember, though, that once you turn it back on and you are still outside the geofence, you will be detected.

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    Geofence by Cell Signal

    The most commonly used tracking device is a cell phone. This mobile device can be tracked in two ways: by GPS and by proximity to cell sites. GPS of course is a more reliable and precise technology for location services. Location tracking by proximity to cell sites is only as precise as the general area around the cell site nearest to you. That could be an entire town or city. Signal reception is also an issue when tracking a cell phone because if an area is with weak reception or if it has no reception at all and if it is located right on the edge of the geofence, it can be considered a hole in the perimeter and it's a way for people to escape the monitored area without immediate detection.

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    Geofence by IP Address

    Geofences set up by web sites are usually beat by simply masking one's IP address by using a proxy service that provides a user with a temporary IP address. This workaround may not always work since web sites may also block access from specific proxy servers, effectively blocking all of the users using their IP address.

    Essentially, getting around a geofence will always be possible because it depends on the available technology, no matter its form, can always be fooled. It may be difficult to get around virtual perimeters in some cases, but once you turn off or shut down the technologies being used for geofence systems, you are then capable of beating your virtual cage.

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    Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Supplied by DevCom