Free web browsing pulled from New York City kiosks after complaints of public masturbation

In January, the first LinkNYC kiosks launched in New York City, as part of a bold plan to replace over 7,500 pay phones across all five boroughs with a more modern network of connection points offering free gigabit Wi-Fi, as well as a built-in Android tablet providing access to information about the city, along with free web browsing.

However, that free browsing feature has now been removed, due to concerns relating to misuse by some members of the public.

As NBC New York reports, there have been numerous complaints that homeless people have been 'monopolizing' them, limiting their availability for other people to access them.

But there have been other complaints too; while the LinkNYC system is supposed to block access to 'inappropriate' content, there been claims that some people have been using the kiosks to watch porn, and there have even been reports of public masturbation.

"The kiosks were never intended for anyone's extended, personal use," LinkNYC said in a statement to NBC, "and we want to ensure that Links are accessible and a welcome addition to New York City neighborhoods."

In an update on its website, LinkNYC said:

LinkNYC was designed to be flexible so we can make adjustments over time. Based on user and community feedback, we removed the tablet web browser to curb long-term use of the kiosks as we continually find new ways to improve your Link experience.

While the web browsing feature has been deactivated, the kiosks will continue to provide free domestic calls, and free Wi-Fi access and charging points for those with their own devices.

Source: LinkNYC / NBC New York

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