Kansas Farm Draws Unwelcome Attention

Did you see the recent story about the Kansas farm that has been receiving unwelcome attention from around the country? It seems that a company that specializes in geotagging picked an arbitrary point at the center of the USA as a default, and now IP addresses that have no known physical location direct to this single places in Kansas.

For years, the owner of this farm has been receiving harassing letters and phone calls, even actual visits in person, all because thousands of IP addresses default to this one place. If someone gets defrauded or abused in some way and they can trace the IP address of the perpetrator, they use the geolocation service that attempts to connect the IP address to a location. If it isn’t known, the service says by default the location is on a farm in Kansas. Voila, an instant problem for that farm owner.

This is an example of the fallout of living in the Information Age. Sometimes our information is faulty or incomplete, but we rush to act on that information anyway. That is why it is so important that we teach critical thinking and media literacy. It is important to learn to ask good questions, and to gather as much information as you can, because things are not always as they seem.