Talk about unintended consequences.
New York City hadn’t even finished setting up all its kiosks by the time people started using them to watch pornography in public.
To date, the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DOITT) has set up about 400 — short of the 500 it originally wanted to have installed by the end of July, en route to an eventual fleet of 7,500. The kiosks spread free gigabit-speed WiFi, helping to connect the unconnected.
They also have tablets that people were able to use for various functions, including surfing the Internet. And therein lay the problem. According to the New York Post, some people were using the feature for purposes the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan might have described as “appealing to prurient interest.”
So now, DOITT has removed the ability of the tablets to surf the Web. In a Sept. 14 statement, the department wrote that it was the work of a few that has harmed the many.
“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 statement reads. “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.”
The department did not immediately respond to Government Technology’s request for comment.
But according to the statement, the department will keep all other functions of the kiosks intact. They’ll still serve as Wi-Fi hotspots, and the tablets will still allow users to charge mobile devices and make free phone calls.
In the future, DOITT will consider limiting the amount of time users are able to spend using certain features of the kiosks.