With great fanfare two years ago, New York City introduced a $200 million citywide network of wi-fi kiosks that were supposed to replace more than 7,500 public phone booths.
Uh-oh. That didn’t quite work out as expected. The New York Times explained what happened instead
The Wi-Fi kiosks were designed to replace phone booths and allow users to consult maps, maybe check the weather or charge their phones. But they have also attracted people who linger for hours, sometimes drinking and doing drugs and, sometimes, boldly watching pornography on the sidewalks.”
Now, yielding to complaints, the operators of the kiosks, LinkNYC network, are shutting off their internet browsers.
Turns out the kiosks have created more problems than than they’ve solved. Especially in the heart of mid-down Manhattan.
Now elected officials, always sensitive to angry voters, say they’d been swamped with complaints from residents and businesses about kiosk customers “entertaining themselves” (EDITORIAL NOTE: When it comes to perverts watching porn, “entertaining themselves” is clearly a carefully-chosen euphemism on the part of the New York Times.)
This is yet another failure on the part of socialist Mayor Bill de Blasio, who introduced the network in February in an attempt to bridge the city’s digital divide. The term “digital divide” refers to the huge gap that separates the rate of Internet usage among the rich and poor.
According to de Blasio’s theory, kiosk customers would make quick visits to the kiosks. That turned out not to be the case. In reality, they quickly became magnets for perverts and the homeless, who camped out in the kiosks and who “took full advantage of the unlimited access to the internet to watch movies and play music for hours.”
And again, the phrase “to watch movies” was another euphemism of the part of the New York Times. In this case, what they meant to say was “to watch porn.”
Corey Johnson, a city councilman whose district encompasses Greenwich Village, Chelsea and part of Midtown, said the Police Department had asked for the removal of “several problematic kiosks” along Eighth Avenue. He said he had observed people watching pornography on the kiosk screens with children nearby.
“These kiosks are often monopolized by individuals creating personal spaces for themselves, engaging in activities that include playing loud explicit music, consuming drugs and alcohol, and the viewing of pornography,” he wrote in a letter last month to officials of the city and LinkNYC.
Councilman Johnson is, in a word, pissed off. (Well, that’s actually two words, but you get what we mean.) He pitched a political fit and LinkNYC officials agreed not to install any additional kiosks in his district.
The official explanation from LinkNYC is a classic case of politically-correct wording. They said 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.”
Their solutions include: (1) Temporarily switching off the browsers built into the kiosks until they can figure out a permanent solution, and (2) Putting a time limit on how long people can use the kiosks. The Times doesn’t specify what that time limit will be, but knowing how government works, especially socialist governments like de Blasio’s, this will probably trigger a multi-year, multimillion dollar research project to determine how long it takes a pervert to get overly-excited — see, the New York Times has nothing on us when it comes to creating obfuscating euphemisms — at a public wi-fi kiosk.
Four hundred LinkNYC kiosks will remain active in boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens. They will continue to offer high-speed wi-fi, access to Google maps, free phone calls and charging stations for other electronic devices. And one must assume that they will also continue to offer porn for perverts.