The NGA provides a free database with no regulations on its use. MaxMind takes some coordinates from that database and slaps IP addresses on them. Then IP mapping sites, as well as phone carriers offering “find my phone” services, display those coordinates on maps as distinct and exact locations, ignoring the “accuracy radius” that is supposed to accompany them.
“We assume the correctness of data, and often these people who are supposed to be competent make mistakes and those mistakes then are very detrimental to people’s daily lives,” said Olivier. “We need to get to a point where responsibility can be assigned to individuals who use data to ensure that they use the data correctly.”
From Kashmir Hill writing on the role of interconnected data in our modern lives. In this case it’s geo IP data, but it’s a story that’s increasingly common and likely in any field.
Two years after MaxMind first became aware of this problem with default [geo IP] locations, its lawyer says it’s still trying to fix it.