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

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 on 2016-09-24 02:29 (#1VTEB)

They clearly want people to use it (they could shut it off at a moment's notice), but they also don't want to bring the homeless problem out from the dark alleys and into the upscale public squares. Can't really blame them for that desire, but they are certainly at fault for designing big public systems without bothering to account for human factors, just like an architect failing to account for wind...

They also don't want everyone to cancel their home internet and just use the public WiFi, which is a common problem that should have been addressed by time-limits, throttling, etc.
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