Sudden computer fallacious notification that my location has changed

Xenophon PCDGS

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In the last week, my computer using Microsoft Edge appears to have taken it upon itself to decide that instead of living in a nice part of Cheshire East, that I now reside in Shrewsbury...o_O

Has this type of fallacious stated location change happened very recently to any other website member?
 
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jfollows

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If you know your IP address (mine is currently 31.50.114.255; you can use https://whatismyipaddress.com to find yours) then http://iplocation.net looks up a variety of sources to find your location, some of them return Manchester and London and even Birmingham for me, although some of them do get to Wilmslow also.
EDIT There's presumably a database behind this and it probably doesn't keep up with changes that ISPs make. Using the IP address is not a good way to get an accurate location, but sometimes it's all that these things have to go on. Devices with GPS such as phones can use this instead so the same problems don't generally appear.
 
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Xenophon PCDGS

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If you know your IP address (mine is currently 31.50.114.255) then http://iplocation.net looks up a variety of sources to find your location, some of them return Manchester and London and even Birmingham for me, although some of them do get to Wilmslow also.
EDIT There's presumably a database behind this and it probably doesn't keep up with changes that ISPs make. Using the IP address is not a good way to get an accurate location, but sometimes it's all that these things have to go on. Devices with GPS such as phones can use this instead so the same problems don't generally appear.
As you are aware, I now reside in the same area as you, having relocated a couple of years ago from the Prestbury/Mottram St Andrew rural border area to the Handforth/Wilmslow rural border area. Because of age related matters at 77, I am at home on the days when I am not making twice-weekly visits to the NHS clinics or hospital appointments. With regards to computer use, I just have the HP Pavilion "Super-dooper" all singing and dancing desktop computer that my twin sons bought for me five years ago and nothing has been changed on it since then. I do not have computer access to any other product and am on BT Halo 3+.
 

dosxuk

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I think it's based (fallaciously) on which IP address I've got that day.

Unless you've actually told Google where your PC is (and they believe you), your IP address is literally all the information they have to go on. One phones / tables / some laptops, the system can tell Google where you are based on GPS / mobile positioning - both of which are far more accurate than IP location tables.

Many home IP's only show up in the location where the ISP is based, or the head end for your connection is. If you've got a static IP and wifi which has open access though, Google collected the almost exact locations of those IPs when they did the first round of street view imagery collection (completely accidentally of course, they never meant to be driving around scanning for everyone's wifi points and geo-locating them, absolutely not, complete mistake).
 

jfollows

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As you are aware, I now reside in the same area as you, having relocated a couple of years ago from the Prestbury/Mottram St Andrew rural border area to the Handforth/Wilmslow rural border area. Because of age related matters at 77, I am at home on the days when I am not making twice-weekly visits to the NHS clinics or hospital appointments. With regards to computer use, I just have the HP Pavilion "Super-dooper" all singing and dancing desktop computer that my twin sons bought for me five years ago and nothing has been changed on it since then. I do not have computer access to any other product and am on BT Halo 3+.
Yes, as dosxuk says, Microsoft Edge is using your IP address (which, from what you say, like me is one allocated to your home network Halo 3+ by BT when it's powered on) but Microsoft Edge looks up your IP address in a table which then gives your location. This table may be out of date or just wrong, who knows exactly, which is why you sometimes see the wrong location. It all has next to nothing to do with your computer.

For example, and I'm making this up, BT may have found that it had a large number of new customers in the Wilmslow area, so it reallocated some of the IP addresses it used to use for customers in the Shrewsbury area to Wilmslow. It didn't need to tell anyone about this, and therefore the information sources for location could be out of date, although it's likely that in due course you'll get your correct location information again when all the changes are propagated to various places.
 

pdeaves

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My work computer claims my location changes every time I put it onto or remove it from the dock (i.e. it switches between a cabled connection and a wifi connection). A little message pops up which, whilst of very slight interest, is of no consequence (to me) whatsoever.
 

Peter Mugridge

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My work computer claims my location changes every time I put it onto or remove it from the dock (i.e. it switches between a cabled connection and a wifi connection). A little message pops up which, whilst of very slight interest, is of no consequence (to me) whatsoever.
Your work is probably using multiple servers in different places and it's routing through whichever one has the most capacity?

I've had that happen as well... although I don't get any notification about it.
 

Cdd89

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I thought desktop software tended to use nearby Wi-Fi networks (which are a unique fingerprint), rather than IP address, to determine location — with lists compiled by Google and other providers. Hence the “nomap_” debacle with Google.

IP addresses often give next to no useful location information. When using EE my IP is the same (UK based) even when data roaming abroad.
 
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PeterC

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I remember a bulletin board about 15 where an EE user was accused of being a scammer as the IP location didn't match their address.
 

Geezertronic

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When using EE my IP is the same (UK based) even when data roaming abroad.

I would question that as your IP address will change when you travel abroad and connect to a partner cellular network abroad. That's why content that is only UK available (like BBC iPlayer) won't work when you are abroad because the restriction is based on the geolocation of the IP address your handset picks up. EE's cellular 213.205.192.0/18 IPv4 range for example is UK based only (I expect IPv6 is the same too)
 

najaB

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Has this type of fallacious stated location change happened very recently to any other website member?
It's not, strictly speaking, a fallacy. As others have noted it happens because the browser/application assumes that the address associated with the IP address in a GeoIP database is correct.

They usually do this so that they can serve you relevant local content - e.g. news and weather (and advertising!), but it can result in quite funny results. As an example, on my work PC I'll often get Dutch-language adverts because one of our VPN end-points is in Amsterdam.
 

87 027

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I would question that as your IP address will change when you travel abroad and connect to a partner cellular network abroad. That's why content that is only UK available (like BBC iPlayer) won't work when you are abroad because the restriction is based on the geolocation of the IP address your handset picks up. EE's cellular 213.205.192.0/18 IPv4 range for example is UK based only (I expect IPv6 is the same too)
I have been able to watch BBC iPlayer using mobile data on my phone when in Spain (Three network)
 

Busaholic

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I think mine does something alphabetically because, instead of Penzance, it quoted Paignton for many years, and now seems fixated with Penryn. My computer has not moved from its desk for at least twelve years!
 

pemma

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Google can have the right location on my phone but when I tether to a computer, the same connection can give me a location of London in Google. It only really matters if you're out and about and using the maps feature or ordering a taxi in an app.

I have been able to watch BBC iPlayer using mobile data on my phone when in Spain (Three network)

I think it might be more relevant which network your phone attached itself to aboard. I have a dual sim phone with a back-up PAYG sim in it, as well as a contract sim. I notice, when aboard, sometimes they both connect to the same network, while other times they choose different networks.
 

najaB

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I have been able to watch BBC iPlayer using mobile data on my phone when in Spain (Three network)
It's not inconceivable that the local network operator tunnels the data back to Three, may well be part of the Three "Feel at Home" offering.
 

Gloster

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I don’t know if it is the same thing, but every time I clear my iPad ‘History and Website Data’ google goes back to London for my location. As I look at sites it then changes my location: normally local papers, etc., mean that it soon gets it right (or nearly). However, if I look something up it will move my location to the one for that site. If I was to look up Princetown (Tripadvisor gives the prison mixed reviews), it would probably say South Devon, etc.

This may be something completely different: I have no idea what IP, ISP or Edge are, while EE made diesel locos.
 

Cdd89

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It's not inconceivable that the local network operator tunnels the data back to Three, may well be part of the Three "Feel at Home" offering.
As above, I’ve never not seen this happening. (In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the only way data usage can be tracked and controlled).
 

najaB

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As above, I’ve never not seen this happening. (In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the only way data usage can be tracked and controlled).
It depends. Sometimes you get an IP address on the local mobile provider's network, other times they tunnel the traffic all the way back to the UK ISP and the traffic hits the Internet from the UK.

Certainly the last time I was in the USA my Three phone had a US IP address.
 
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Has this type of fallacious stated location change happened very recently to any other website member?
On the question of timing, I had noticed for the first time only two weeks ago that Microsoft Edge thought my laptop PC (which these days never moves any further from my desk than to the dining room table) had relocated about 21 km (13 miles) south-east. It's been back to normal since.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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I did another check this morning and whilst it still insists that I am in Shropshire, it now gives the location as being Ruyton -XI - Towns....:rolleyes:

That is rather depressing as the price of a reasonably modern 5-bedroom detached house there is only a third of what similar modern properties command in my real area.
 
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maniacmartin

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As mentioned above, if you are on a desktop PC there's no wifi access points, GPS or cellular tower locations that can be used.
These GeoIP databases that websites use are more of a best guess than a science. The database providers gather data from a variety of places, including IP address registries (RIPE etc) which gives them your ISPs head office address. I wouldn't be surprised if all sorts of websites and advertising companies sell rough address data that they have gathered from what you key into various websites too.

BT probably assigned you a different IP address overnight that was previously assigned to a BT customer in Shropshire. This is nothing to worry about. My work internet geolocates to France for reason!

PS your HP is probably not so super-dooper nowadays by virtue of being 5 years old.
 

Busaholic

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I did another check this morning and whilst it still insists that I am in Shropshire, it now gives the location as being Ruyton-XI- Towns....:rolleyes:
You'll have to hope that a spate of crimes don't suddenly occur in that location where the suspect is described as a distinguished looking gentleman of a certain age. ;)
 

D365

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I did another check this morning and whilst it still insists that I am in Shropshire, it now gives the location as being Ruyton-XI- Towns....:rolleyes:
Is this not a good thing for privacy?
PS your HP is probably not so super-dooper nowadays by virtue of being 5 years old.
I disagree. Computers since ~2010 onwards are incredibly well-lasting. Anything since 2014 onwards is still suitable for the majority of household users.
 

najaB

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I disagree. Computers since ~2010 onwards are incredibly well-lasting.
I don't think they're particularly longer-lasting than older machines - as an example I used an 8086-based machine well into the mid-1990s.
Anything since 2014 onwards is still suitable for the majority of household users.
Not so much because the hardware has help up significantly better, but more because the requirements of say Windows 10 vs Windows 7 are much closer than was the case for Windows 95 and Windows XP. Not to mention that most people largely use online resources, so the local machine just needs to be capable of getting them online.
 

david1212

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At work since we moved to FTTP, which is AFAIK directly provided by BT, and is fixed IP the site supposedly has been at a few locations but none close. Currently Macclesfield which is straight line ~70 miles away & previously for a while Swansea ~120 miles away.
 

najaB

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At work since we moved to FTTP, which is AFAIK directly provided by BT, and is fixed IP the site supposedly has been at a few locations but none close.
That will likely be because websites are using different GeoIP databases.

By way of example, using my current work IP address, I get:
  • Max Mind - St Albans, Hertfordshire, England
  • Hacker Target - Enfield, Enfield, United Kingdom
  • WhatIsMyIp - Bartley, ENG GB
None of which are, incidentally, in Scotland.
 
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