Home >> Linux >> Internet Mapping Glitch Turned a Random Kansas Farm Into a Digital Hell

Internet Mapping Glitch Turned a Random Kansas Farm Into a Digital Hell

An anonymous reader writes: Back in 2002, a company called MaxMind had an idea: Gather up as many unique computer or smartphone IP addresses as they can, match them to a map, and sell that data to advertisers. The problem is that MaxMind’s tech has made life miserable for a handful of homes across the US — especially one otherwise unnoteworthy northern Kansas farm. The farm’s 82-year-old owner, Joyce Taylor, and her tenants have been subject to numerous FBI visits, IRS collectors, ambulances, threats, and the release of private information online. They’ve found people rummaging in the farm’s barn and one person even left a broken toilet for some reason. People would even post her details online and encourage others to get in on the harassment, she said. The local sheriff even had to put a sign on her driveway, telling trespassers to stay away and contact him first if there are any questions. What’s her mistake? MaxMind thought that if its tech couldn’t tell where, exactly, in the United States, an IP address was located, it would instead return a default set of coordinates very near the geographic center of the country — coordinates that happen to coincide with Taylor’s front yard. The abuse began in 2011. A quick online search for the farm’s address brings up pages of forum posts reporting the “scam farm.”

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