Geoip lookup

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Fri May 24 16:08:13 UTC 2013


On May 24, 2013, at 00:28 , Jean-Francois Mezei <jfmezei_nanog at vaxination.ca> wrote:

> On 13-05-24 02:57, Owen DeLong wrote:
> 
>> That was exactly my point, Bill... If you have operations in RIPE and ARIN regions, it is entirely possible for you to obtain addresses from RIPE or ARIN and use them in both locations, or, obtain addresses from both RIPE and ARIN and use them in their respective regions, or mix and match in just about any imaginable way. Thus, IP addresses don't reside in regions, either. They are merely issued somewhat regionally.
> 
> Correct.
> But the fact remains that a lot of services assume geolocation works and
> do so in terms of restricting access to their content (oftent due to
> legacy content rights that require geolocation).
> 

The fact remains that a certain percentage of the population robs banks.

Neither is a particularly good thing, IMHO.

> One extreme example. A sports equipment retailer operates under a
> different banner in the province of Québec than in the rest of Canada.
> They geolocate the user's province and prevent québeckers from accessing
> the "rest of canada" web site.
> 

And the quebeckers that care use a tunnel to get an address that doesn't
geolocate to quebec.

> So residents of ontario who subscribe to an ISP based in Québec are
> blocked from the web site because that web site thinks they are based in
> Québec.
> 

Which goes to prove my point wrt. bank robbery.

> The problem is with many web designers and managers who do not
> understand geolocation and the ISP business and how they are structured.
> 

So called experts who remain rather ignorant in their field of "expertise" are a problem across a wide variety of fields. The internet is not unique in this regard and geolocation is just one aspect of this problem on the internet.

> In the case of the sports equipment chain. there is no real need to
> geoblock. (perhaps to prevent Québeckers from seeing the prices in the
> rest of canada ?)
> 

Yep... And even if there were a reason, geoblocking is a joke anyway because it is trivially subverted by anyone who cares and more of a problem for people who should have access but their IP doesn't match their actual geography.

> But in the case of entertainment, rights to programs are purchased with
> strict geolocation requirements. One example are pay TV channels TMN
> (Astral) and Movie Central (Shaw). The first has eastern canada, the
> later has western Canada.

But IP geolocation doesn't help in either of these cases. Those wanting to subvert the programming restrictions simply use a tunnel to do so. On the other hand, a customer who lives near the boundary and gets his internet service from the "wrong side" of the boundary has access to the service from the wrong geography and not the correct geography.

> an IPTV BDU (regulated "cable" carrier (aka: cable competitor) must
> therefore ensure that a customer to whom it delivers the IPTV feed for
> "TMN" is located in the region for which TMN has rights. Same for all
> channels.  And there is also pesky channel substitution requirements
> rhat are based on your location. In Canada, we are not allowed to watch
> a program on a US channel if a local TV channel carries the same program
> at same time.

And geolocation by IP doesn't actually work to enforce any of these restrictions because tunnels easily circumvent it for those that want to circumvent it. OTOH, it also breaks the process for those who happen to be victims of unfortunate mismatches between topology and geography.

Where the IPTV provider is also the ISP, this isn't really much of a problem, but in that case, geo IP is kind of redundant.

Where the IPTV provider is not the ISP, it gets very strange very quickly.

> The better solution is to do like satellite BDUs do: billing address.
> But some web based systems ignore the unreliable geolocation services
> and use them to geolocate their customers.

Yep... Again, see above comments about ignorance and bank robbery.

> It is probably the fault of geolocation services which misrepresent the
> accuracy of their data.  But if you can't beat them, you might as well
> join them, and that may mean separate IP blocks for different
> provinces/states and separate registrations so geoocation companies can
> at least get province/state right.

Why would I want to help them? I'd much rather give my customers the option of where they want to pretend to be. If I were running a provider that crossed such regional boundaries, I'd likely offer a service (for a fee) where a customer could tunnel through whichever region got them access to the content they wanted at any given time.

> It will get much worse if governments start to tax purchases/services
> based on gelocation.

ROFLMAO... Indeed... That will likely lead to some very interesting lawsuits and consumer complaints about invalid taxation due to inaccuracies in the geolocation database.

Owen




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