Strangers with strange requests began to come to the house of John in 2013, demanding to let them in. Nobody imagined that this is associated with an IP address.The backyard of the house of John, who became a kind of beacon for intruders Here and hereinafter photo by Kashmir Hill, Gizmodo
39-year-old John and his 73-year-old mother Anna (their names are not mentioned) lived in a private house in the administrative capital of South Africa Pretoria for several decades before it began. In 1964, the man’s grandfather bought a cottage in a quiet and prosperous area, and this atmosphere in the house remained for almost 50 years.
In 2013, everything changed, and the owners could no longer find peace. But the reason was not a curse or a plot, but far from ideal principles of the geolocation system for IP addresses and the involuntary participation of the US Army. The story of John and Anna told the publication Gizmodo.
The first in the long list of strangers who came to the house of John, became a private detective. He stated that a kidnapped girl was being held in the house, and refused to leave until he was let in. The son and his elderly mother did not abduct anyone, but opened the door only after the arrival of the police. Together with the patrol, the detective went around the whole house in search of the kidnapped, looking in the closets and under the bed.
But no matter how hard the man tried to convince the policeman and the owners of the house in his version, supporting her with the data of a certain “professional error-free device”, they did not believe him. He left with nothing, but others came for him. People appeared at the house in waves, sometimes seven people a month. Strangers walked around the territory or knocked on the fence, attracting the attention of the owners.
Everyone had different motives. Many blamed John and Anna for stealing phones and laptops. One day, three teenagers came to the house, believing that their internet abuser was in it. Another time, the family came, looking for a lost relative. The next time a policeman knocked on the gate, who expected to find a wanted criminal in the cottage. Then the special forces detachment followed, which made its way over the fence straight to the front door and pointed the weapon at the elderly Anna. The police explained that they were looking for stolen ipads.The gate to the house of John, which became the main obstacle for uninvited guests
“These people come with some kind of religious zeal, believing that their belongings are in my yard. The owners [of Apple’s] technology seem worse than others, ”says John. At the end of 2018, a complaint came to his home address from the owner of a leather goods store Benna Bok. The woman accused the man of harassment on Facebook and intimidation, promising to sue. But John did not know her, and all the more he did not annoy her on the social network.
Link between John’s home and millions of IP addresses
“I had no idea what was going on. I thought that in this way the fraudsters are trying to get into the house and steal something, ”says Anna. In 2014, the house was really robbed, but at that moment the owners were in the city – the attackers took the phone, tablet and jewelry of the woman. She received the latter as a gift from her mother, who worked as a midwife assistant.
Assuming that the house somehow transmits a digital signal, John turned to his provider, the manufacturer of his modem and Apple tech support. From the latter, he expected a direct answer to the question of why the company’s clients are looking for their lost devices in his home. He was never answered.
The man began to keep a list of all the uninvited guests with the goals of their visits and showed a printout to each new person who accused him of any crimes. This went on for three years, until John contacted Gizmodo journalist Kashmir Hill. It was she who was one of the first to investigate stories that began exactly like that of John and his mother. The girl immediately put the man on the trail – MaxMind has to look for the cause of the problemJohn’s mother is Anna, who works as a nurse at a local hospital. The man himself chose not to be photographed
So called company, founded in 2002 in Massachusetts. She set a goal to collect as many IP addresses as possible and create a database with their geo-referencing. The company achieved this in various ways: sending cars that traveled to cities and registered IP addresses and GPS coordinates of open Wi-Fi points, or bought the necessary information from the authors of telephone applications.
All this allowed MaxMind to create a GeoIP database for geolocation by IP address. Clients of such services are often advertisers who use it for more successful targeting, traffic analysis and other things. Simply put, based on the accumulated GeoIP database, an approximate geographical location of a specific IP address can be assumed.
But all this is not an exact science. Sometimes the service can report only the country, region or city. To display such incomplete data on the map, MaxMind determines the coordinates of each conditional city or country. Usually, a label with these coordinates is located in the center of the country — for example, in Russia, the southeastern shore of Lake Vivi in the Krasnoyarsk Territory is considered the geographical center.