Geolocation a security credential? Something to ponder

You may not really care where your friends are, but you may care where that unknown end-user of your system is.

Geolocation seems to be the rage right now among the socially networking trendsetters. Services such as Foursquare, Facebook Places and Google Latitude fighting for leadership of the "I'm-at-Jamba-Juice-at-47th-and-Seventh" tagging market.

You may not really care where your friends are, but you may care where that unknown end-user of your system is.

However, there may be a compelling, practical application of geolocation for IT shops as well.  That is, as a security credential to help verify that a system or person is definitely who they say they are. Guy Bunker raises this possibility in a new Computerworld piece, noting that usernames and passwords are easily defeated, and biometrics are cumbersome. But geolocation could be an effective verifier, assuring that you are not a hacker on the other side of the globe.  As Bunker explains:

"Sitting in a cyber-cafe in a country lacking security, you probably shouldn’t be able to get access to the corporate network (you shouldn’t do any personal Internet banking there either), but if you are sitting at home on a trusted system, then access would be ok. Geolocation  can help to verify where someone is. Is a given person connecting to the network really in Peru as they say they are?"

Again, something to ponder while you have your next Jamba Juice.