A digital mapping company called MaxMind offers an "IP geolocation" service that provides computer users' geographical locations. When MaxMind doesn't know a user's location, it spits out a default address that is at the approximate geographical center of the continental US. It is the front yard of a farmhouse near Wichita, Kansas. For the last fourteen years, MaxMind's database has listed 600 million IP addresses at this farmhouse. As a result, the people who live there receive a non-stop barrage of harassment.
For the last decade, Taylor and her renters have been visited by all kinds of mysterious trouble. They've been accused of being identity thieves, spammers, scammers and fraudsters. They've gotten visited by FBI agents, federal marshals, IRS collectors, ambulances searching for suicidal veterans, and police officers searching for runaway children. They've found people scrounging around in their barn. The renters have been doxxed, their names and addresses posted on the internet by vigilantes. Once, someone left a broken toilet in the driveway as a strange, indefinite threat.
How an internet mapping glitch turned a random Kansas farm into a digital hell