LinkNYC discovers the social problems of free Wi-Fi on city streets

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in internet on (#1VEPR)
New York City’s cutting edge public Wi-Fi project, LinkNYC has hit some stumbling blocks. After continued complaints about people viewing pornography and other inappropriate content, on September 14 LinkNYC completely turned off browsing capabilities for the tablets installed in each kiosk. Their main functionality—free public Wi-Fi, phone calls, map functions, and USB charging ports has not changed. LinkNYC notes that “The kiosks were never intended for anyone’s extended, personal use.”

Many people continued to browse the web using their own device, tethered to the kiosks’ free Wi-Fi and charging ports, seemingly allowing continued misuse that LinkNYC is trying to prevent. While the city's desire to provide the city’s under-served with access to an important utility is admirable, they do not want the social problems to be visibly manifesting on street corners. The “home offices” being improvised on street corners with homeless and loiterers camped out on overturned newspaper stands around the city, does not seem to be exactly what the city had it mind when it pledged to help break down the digital divide.

Re: Unintended consequences (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org on 2016-09-22 19:12 (#1VNMS)

It sounds more like they tried really hard to give everyone (who already has a device) free internet (within 10 meters of a kiosk), and expected everyone to behave in a rational, civilized, adult fashion where putting up tents and whacking off inside them is off limits in public. (What you do with that poor tent in the privacy of your home is up to you, though.) They got a rather rude awakening.

I guess what ought to surprise us all is how many people already have devices like these.

Another source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-15/building-a-smart-city-have-you-thought-about-porn-and-privacy
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