The Vogelman family has owned their farm in northern Kansas for just about 100 years. They are well respected in their community, teach Sunday School, and are respected by everyone in their small town. Then why have they been harassed by complete strangers and law enforcement agencies for the better part of a decade? Joyce Taylor (she is a Vogelman, Taylor is her married name), grew up at the idyllic property, which could be considered a respite from the hustle and bustle of the world outside, but she says that all changed nearly ten years ago. “The first call I got was from Connecticut,” Taylor told an interviewer “It was a man who was furious because his business internet was overwhelmed with emails. His customers couldn’t use their email. He said it was the fault of the address at the farm. That’s when I became aware that something was going on.”
The problem? IP mapping service MaxMind chose the latitude and longitude of 38°N 97°W as the default, for when none was given along with an IP address for their service. Thus, all of the shady people who try to mask their location got marked as being located at the Vogelman farm. “At that time [10 years ago when the company was founded], we picked a latitude and longitude that was in the center of the country, and it didn’t occur to us that people would use the database to attempt to locate people down to a household level.” Well, it turns out that they do, especially when they’re angry. Now the Vogelmans, who do have a computer but tend to use it to make Sunday School lesson plans rather than surf the net, take on the ire of many who have been the targets of shady or annoying people like spammers and scammers who mask their location online.
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