The Google-funded free wifi kiosks are scrapping web browsing because too many people were using it for porn

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Deblasio LinkNYC
Appleton/Mayoral Photography
Office

This is why New Yorkers can’t have nice things. 

LinkNYC, the initiative to install super-fast wifi hubs in
New York City, is suspending web browsing on all its tablets
after 8 months due to inappropriate behavior, the company says.

Google parent company Alphabet funds LinkNYC
through its spinoff Sidewalk Labs. 

“… 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 company writes in a
statement. 

DNAInfo previously reported that people were using the hubs

to watch porn
 or listen to loud, explicit
music.

LinkNYC says that it’s working with city officials to come
up with potential solutions, l
ike time
limits, so that it could allow users to browse the web once
more. In the meantime, they’ll still be able to use the tablets
to make calls and look at maps. 

Here’s the full statement from LinkNYC:

“Eight months ago, we launched a first-of-its-kind network to
improve the quality of life in this great city where so many of
us work and live. To date, we’ve seen lots of curiosity and
excitement, and also some unexpected challenges that we need to
address, as you’d expect with any project this bold.

With 400 Links installed in three boroughs, nearly 475,000 New
Yorkers and visitors have signed up to use the fastest broadband
publicly available in New York City and they have used it more
than 21 million times. We’ve heard from New Yorkers who use the
Links to save data on their mobile plans, call relatives across
the country, and get a much-needed quick charge.

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.

 Starting today, we are removing web browsing on all Link
tablets while we work with the City and community to explore
potential solutions, like time limits. Other tablet features—free
phone calls, maps, device charging, and access to 311 and
911—will continue to work as they did before, and nothing is
changing about LinkNYC’s superfast Wi-Fi. As planned, we will
continue to improve the Link experience and add new features for
people to enjoy while they’re on the go.

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.

LinkNYC is a valuable public service for this city, already
giving nearly half a million people access to the fastest Wi-Fi
publicly available in NYC and providing tens of thousands of free
phone calls, device charging, and directions every single week.
And we’re just getting started. We will continue to learn and
improve the LinkNYC experience for people who use it and also for
the people who live and work near the kiosks.”

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