NEW YORK — Wi-Fi kiosks are meant to be a great resource for New Yorkers, but stories of people using them for unsavory purposes — like a homeless man setting up shop and watching porn like he’s in his own living room — are being more common.
The latest purported incident happened in Murray Hill, where a woman says she saw a homeless person pleasuring himself in one of the booths. The New York Post reports the disgusted witness shared her experience in a neighborhood Facebook group.
Now, she and other residents have had enough.
A city leader is sounding the alarm Monday, saying actions needs to be taken, like limiting the time any one user can spend at the kiosks and installing porn filters.
“After learning about the inappropriate and over-extended usage of LinkNYC kiosks throughout the city, in particular in Manhattan, it is time to make adjustments that will allow all of our city residents to use this service safely and comfortably,” Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. said in a statement.
“There should be a way where you can register like you do with Wi-Fi with an email address and have that timed out and then you can’t log on for x amount of time,” said Diaz.
As for people using the kiosks to watch porn, Diaz says it’s an easy fix.
“The technology is there for them to filter out a few adult entertainment sites.”
The city has been rolling the kiosks out since the beginning of the year. They’re being installed in old phone booths.
The goal is to install 4,550 kiosks city-wide by 2019.
The kiosks include free Wi-Fi, a tablet with web access and two USB charging ports.
Ruth Fasoldt, LinkNYC’s community-affairs manager, gave PIX11 the following statement:
“More than 450,000 New Yorkers have signed up to use LinkNYC, and our Wi-Fi network is already used more than a million times per week. We are still in the early phase of deployment, learning how New Yorkers and visitors are using the Links and how they would like to see them improved,” said Fasoldt.
“We have heard the community’s feedback and are currently working on changes to LinkNYC tablets in response to their concerns to prevent Links from being monopolized by any individual or groups of users.”