New York Wi-Fi kiosks disabled because people used them to watch porn

Bradley Wint
Sep 18, 2016 2:28pm AST
Photo: LinkNYC

LinkNYC is a project geared to converting phone booths in New York City into communication hotspots, providing free services like highspeed Wi-Fi, map access, phone charging ports, phone calling services, and even a 911 emergency button.

Each unit is also equipped with a tablet, that until recently, allowed anyone the ability to browse the web.

Like any free service, people tend to go overboard and abuse what they have, leading to them losing their privileges.

LinkNYC was forced to make a number of changes to its units after it was discovered that people were using their tablets to view pornographic websites, stream movies and other videos, play loud music, and generally overstay their welcome when the service was meant for short term usage.

In a service update, they made mention on a number of negative issues being faced.

We also know that some users have been monopolizing the Link tablets and using them inappropriately, preventing others from being able to use them while frustrating the residents and businesses around them. The kiosks were never intended for anyone’s extended, personal use and we want to ensure that Links are accessible and a welcome addition to New York City neighborhoods.

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As a result, they will be removing the web browsing option from its in-built tablets. However, other features like free phone calls, maps, device charging, and access to emergency numbers remains as is. The Wi-Fi option will also remain as is.

They will also be dialing down the brightness and limiting speaker volume during the night, so as to not disturb local residents nearby.

As New Yorkers ourselves, we want LinkNYC to provide the best possible experience for Link users and the communities around them. We designed the network to be flexible, so we can learn how people use LinkNYC, how they want to see it improved, and make adjustments over time. And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing from the beginning. In response to community feedback and suggestions, we’ve dimmed the light on the kiosk displays and limited their maximum volume at night.

It may seem unfair to some, but the company has promised that they will be working on a long term solution to help potentially bring back the web browsing option via its in-built tablets while blocking access to certain unwanted websites.

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