I’m in Germany this morning – or so claims The Internetâ„¢. As it happens, I am sitting inside my usual coffee shop in Canary Wharf and sitting at my usual table (after it was vacated by interlopers) – but the internet is convinced that I am in Germany.

As it happens, this is not a new occurrence and every time I log on to the T-Mobile Wi-Fi service in the UK, all the adverts on websites switch to German. Google is usually better at knowing my real location, but even they sometimes get it wrong and just now tried to bounce me over to the German Google website.

As the location data is based on IP address tables, I could understand some glitches, but it does seem that either T-Mobile UK is routing all its internet traffic via a German proxy, which would be very odd – or they are identifying themselves as German to query systems – which would be equally odd.

However, as a diversion – it could once have been possible for me to be sitting in London – and also be in Germany. Where Cannon Street train station now stands used to be a German enclave between the 13th and 15th centuries. Queen Elizabeth 1 finally rescinded their privileges but the land itself remained the property of the Hanse merchants right up to 1853. It was only eventually sold to make way for the train station.

There is a plaque by the train station commemorating this heritage – and a photo of it (take by myself) is on Wikipedia

So – had the internet been around in the 14th century and I was sat inside the German enclave, then the adverts I am seeing today on my web browser would indeed be correct. But I am not – so they are wrong.

(Oh, and the Y button on my laptop seems to be glitchy this morning – damn)


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One comment
  1. Graham says:

    Same happens to me whenever I use their wi-fi. The T in T-mobile stands for Telekom, and the company is owned by Deutsche Telekom. So it’s not that unreasonable for them to have their server in Germany.

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