Who has been getting New York City’s LinkNYC kiosks to play creepy music?

Answer: A phone phreak who doesn’t like them.

by / December 17, 2018
A woman uses a LinkNYC kiosk to access the internet via wi-fi on her smartphone in New York on Saturday, February 20, 2016. (Richard B. Levine/Sipa USA/TNS) TNS

The 9.5-foot-tall kiosks provide free Wi-Fi and device charging to the public, as well as a host of other features, but it turns out not everyone’s a fan.

At the beginning of this year, someone somehow got some of the LinkNYC kiosks to simultaneously play a slowed-down version of the theme song for Mister Softee ice cream. The mystery of the creepy song continued until recently, when the perpetrator came forward.

Mark Thomas is a “phone phreak,” basically the phone’s version of a computer hacker. Phone phreaker used audio frequencies to get into a phone’s system and take control. He’s also a lifelong fan of traditional phone booths, so he was understandably not happy when the city started replacing them with the LinkNYC kiosks. His getting them to play the creepy music was his way of making this displeasure known.