Defaulted IP Location Led to GPS Hell for a Couple from Kansas
Gareth Andrews / 4 years ago
We’ve all had that problem where a company would fail to locate us, be it because you have a new address or their sat nav system is out of date, telling them to find you can be a pain. It’s even worse for James and Theresa Arnold who moved into their rented farm in Butler County, Kansas back in 2011. The reason for all of their pain and suffering? People using false IP’s pointed straight to the Kansas couple’s farm.
The pair has now raised a lawsuit against MaxMind, an IP mapping company responsible for their suffering. The reason for the lawsuit is that the company provided their location to thousands of IP searches, all of which were looking for IPs that were being used maliciously.
The reason behind the couple’s suffering is that back when the company started up they looked to create a center spot for America, found at 39°50′N 98°35′W, The problem is that this becomes a rather nasty number when you feed it into a computer, with the longitude returning as 39.8333333. The company decided to make life easier and round their figures, to 38,-97, something that has resulted in the Arnolds suffering for over 14 years. The reason for the suffering was that when MaxMinds’ system was asked about an IP it didn’t know, it returned the default location, the farm which the Arnolds lived at.
While MaxMind has now moved the default position to the middle of a lake, many customers and users have yet to update their software, all of which will continue to point to their farm until they do so. With a lawsuit of $75,000 listed as just the start, it may encourage companies to better prepare a “can’t find it” response when their software can’t quite manage to calculate something.