Let’s face it. Humans are adept at turning situations to their benefit, but not all of them for the better. So it isn’t exactly surprising that 8 months after it launched, LinkNYC’s free gigabit Wi-Fi in New York is undergoing a rather major change. No, the Wi-Fi is still free and you can still connect to it with whatever device you have. However, the startup is now turning off the ability to browse the Web using the LinkNYC kiosk’s tablet following reports of abuse, some of them mildly amusing.
LinkNYC is admittedly a bold, risky, and perhaps even irrational venture, given how free Wi-Fi is almost always an open invitation for all sorts of shenanigans. But putting a tablet that can be used for Web browsing in each kiosk? Definitely a recipe for disaster.
The press release states that there have been reports of users hogging those Link tablets and “using them inappropriately”. What it couldn’t mention are the reports that some of those inappropriate uses involve activities that all but exhibitionists and unhinged people probably do in private, or at least out of the public’s eye.
Long story short, bye-bye goes web browsing. The tablets, of course, will still remain as they will still be used for more legitimate cases like dialing 911 and 311, free phone calls, maps, and the like. And nothing changes for those connecting to the hotspots through their computers or mobile devices. Yes, you can still keep on doing that. In private, of course.
It’s not the end of web browsing on Link tablets, however. LinkNYC is still open to the possibility of re-enabling that functionality in the future, provided they are able to find ways to prevent, or at least minimize or discourage, such abuses, like imposing time limits.