Joyce Vogelman Taylor, of Potwin, Kansas, has been on the receiving end of years of harassment over an Internet mapping glitch that defaulted IP address locations to her farmhouse near the geographical center of the United States.
Although for much of the 100-year-old farmhouse’s life the Taylor family lived under candlelight and used an outhouse, the past several years have put the home at the epicenter of digital controversy. The 82-year-old resident of the farmhouse has been subjected to numerous visits from the FBI, IRS collectors, ambulances, threats, and the release of her private information online.
Despite being at the center of internet chaos, Joyce Taylor claims that she does “not know anything about the internet.” Her home only contains an old Gateway computer that is used by Taylor to type up her monthly Sunday school lesson for the nearby Hillside Christian Church.
As a result of someone posting her personal information online, Taylor has been on the receiving end of some strange and unusual threats. She has found people rummaging in the farm’s barn and woke up one morning to a toilet at the end of her driveway smashed to pieces in such a way that made it difficult to discard.
Because of the consistent harassment, the local sheriff’s office has placed a sign outside the house, warning unwanted visitors to stay away from the home.
The reason behind the chaos dates back to ten years ago, with Massachusetts company MaxMind, which helps companies learn where in the world their traffic comes from. When they were setting up data configuration, they were looking for a spot near the center of the country and settled on the coordinates associated with the Taylor property — only two hours away from the geographical center of the United States. Because of this, 600 million internet devices became associated with the coordinates of the Taylor’s home.
Although MaxMind has announced plans to move their digital center of the country from the Taylor property to a nearby body of water, Taylor has moved out of the farmhouse to avoid further harassment.