We've been tracking LinkNYC's wholly altruistic quest to deliver free Wi-Fi to the masses for sometime now. At length. Ad nauseam (that means a lot).
And yes, we were maybe a little bit concerned with the possibility of unsavories using the web browsing services available at the kiosks for, well, unsavory purposes.
Yeah, that should be the concern there. It makes sense. Some people want to turn their private activities into a public outing, but that's no real news here. We expected it. We knew it was going to happen.
And then it happened. Almost immediately.
“They definitely have keywords blocked out, like PornHub and those places, but I start searching and I’m like, holy shit I can still do full-fledged Google Image searches for rowdy shit. So there’s crowds of people walking by and I’m looking at galleries of dead insurgents,” graffiti artist KATSU told The Creators Project back in April.
Gothamist reported September 14th (math tells us that's about 5 months later...), that finally, after much complaining, LinkNYC has finally decided to pull the plug on web browsing while they figure their sh*t out.
"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," the company said.
Shouldn't the time limits on web browsing been the first thing they did, you know, aside from blocking out keywords that would have allowed for Not Safe For Any Passing Child or Human searches?
You know what they say, "Hindsight might be 20/20, but for LinkNYC, full frontal was 24/7." Just kidding. Nobody is saying that.
Then they addressed the issues themselves, running down the list of complaints as if any of them were surprising or unexpected.
To be clear, they weren't.
"...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."
Anytime someone tells you after the fact that this is "never what we intended" never had the wherewithal to fully consider the consequences of what they were about to do. It's one of those bullsh*t apologies where you apologize that the offended party was offended at all, not for what you said.
"I'm sorry you got upset, but I didn't mean that and you know it."
Sure, the kiosks may not have been intended for extended personal use, but why didn't you do anything in the last five months to insure that wasn't a possibility? And that's still after the fact.
Even if the intentions were good, so long as there was a way to misuse it, there was and always will be someone looking to misuse it.
Besides, we have men jerking off on subways without the aid of internet inspiration, so who the hell actually thought this plan through?
And can we get back to the other problem here?
From the time that a graffiti artist went and showed us all of the stupid sh*t that could happen, to the time that LinkNYC acted in any way at all, nearly half a year went by. Well, if that's not quintessential New York City timeliness, I'm not sure what is.
A spokesperson from Mayor Bill de Blasio's office later addressed the report of the closures saying, "There were concerns about loitering and extended use of LinkNYC kiosks, so the Mayor is addressing these quality-of-life complaints head on.
"Removing the internet browser from LinkNYC tablets will not affect the other great services LinkNYC provides - superfast Wi-Fi, free phone calls, or access to key City services - but will address concerns we’ve heard from our fellow New Yorkers."
Thanks, Bill. You're a gem. But we can't have nice things, and you shouldn't have expected New Yorkers to keep the nice things we get nice. That's on you, Bill.
This is a classic NYC cautionary tale.
If you need it built, it will likely never come (here's lookin' at you, 2nd Ave Subway). If you actually build it, they will come―LORD, WILL THEY COME!― not in the way you'd originally intended, but in all of the ways you'd rather not have seen.
Oh, but LinkNYC is asking for feedback. And you should give it to them. Email email@example.com. We assume it's kind of a pic4pic situation, but then again, sending d*ck pics might not be what this is intended for.