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Why NOT to Trust Your Apps

by Miki Saxon

When I in college, I remember discussing a newspaper story with my aunts. I remember saying that I didn’t believe something and my aunts saying that if something wasn’t true it would not be in the paper.

They really believed that, because in the world they grew up and lived in it was mostly was true.

Fast forward to today and you find the same attitude being applied to the information supplied by the tech they use.

They don’t question the stuff supplied by various apps, especially if it’s from known vendors.

Vendors such as MaxMind.

Maxmind identifies IP addresses, matches them to a map and sells that data to advertisers.

Trouble is, accuracy isn’t their strong point.

Back in 2002, when it started in this business, Fusion reports, MaxMind made a decision. If its tech couldn’t tell where, exactly, in the US, 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.

Taylor is the unfortunate owner of a farm that sits on one of those catch-all co-ordinates.

And although the info isn’t supposed to be used to identify specific addresses, surprise, surprise, that’s exactly how people do use it, law enforcement included.

The farm’s 82-year-old owner, Joyce Taylor, and her tenants have been subject to FBI visits, IRS collectors, ambulances, threats, and the release of private information online, she told Fusion.

As bad as that is, at least the Taylor’s still have their home, unlike the two families who are homeless because a contractor assumed Google maps was correct, so he didn’t check the demolition addresses.

Unbelievable that they accepted the tech without checking.
Unbelievable that they first called it a minor mistake.
Unbelievable that the owners aren’t suing.

Video credit: Business Insider

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