LinkNYC shuts down web browsing to ‘curb long term use’

LinkNYC replaced pay phones with internet kiosks, but didn’t anticpate extended use by those without mobile devices./Venture Beat

Good intentions do not always work out for the best. This is the lesson one technology company may quickly learn. LinkNYC, a company that replaces outdated public payphones with free wifi kiosks, have found a problem unrelated to the technology. While the kiosks were meant to provide wifi and free phone charging to the masses, the people had other ideas, using the tablet portion of the terminal for long term use. The reason users were taking so much time? Porn, suggests The New York Post.

LinkNYC said in a statement on their website that “based on user and community feedback, we have removed the tablet web browser to curb long-term use of the kiosks.”

While the offending websites have mostly been blocked, tablet web browsing has been removed from the terminals. New Yorkers and tourists alike can now only access the LinkNYC Internet service through the free wifi accessed through their personal mobile devices.

“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,” said LinkNYC in an announcement. “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.”

The specific users being targeted by this shutdown appear to be the city’s homeless population, whom Motherboard reports have been camping out around the kiosks, waiting to get online.

The kiosks will still provide users access to Google Maps and some city services, says the company, as well as access to emergency services. No other services provided at the kiosks appear to be affected by the web browser shut down.

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