NY Post Craps On NYC's Plan To Offer Free Wi-Fi -- Because The Homeless Might Watch Porn

from the worry-wart dept

As you might have heard, New York City recently launched one of the biggest free Wi-Fi initiatives ever conceived. Under the program, some 7,500 Wi-Fi kiosks will provide gigabit Wi-Fi, free phone calls to anywhere in the country (via Vonage), as well as access to a device recharging station, 311, 911, 411 and city services (via an integrated Android tablet). The city is installing ten a day -- most at old payphone locations -- and hopes to have 500 of the kiosks in place by July. It's a pretty impressive effort, and by most measures providing fast, free connectivity to the city's five boroughs has been something to celebrate.

Unless you're the New York Post, which decided to spend precious calories this week worrying about how the system potentially lets the city's homeless population watch porn:
"...The plan badly backfired when scores of homeless men — and some schoolchildren — soon realized they could surf porn sites all day on the city’s dime using the communal Android-run tablets and gratis Wi-Fi."
Of course the Post kind of floats over the amazing fact that the kiosks let everybody in the city access any information they want at any time, but the Post also fails to really offer any evidence that there's waves upon waves of masturbating homeless brigands terrifying city residents. In fact the story proceeds to note that the company behind the initiative, LinkNYC, has already ramped up filtering of pornographic websites to at least make it a little more difficult. In fact there's really not much of any meat to the clams the city's plan "backfired" at all, outside of a quote from an indignant out of towner:
"I used to come here in the ’70s, and I remember thinking Times Square was as skeezy as you could get, but I was wrong,” said former New Yorker Richard Herzberg, 61, who now lives in Dallas, Texas. "This is as skeezy as Times Square could get. I mean, in the old days there was plenty of porn, but you could only see it behind closed doors. So at least there was that level of modesty."
While the Post would apparently prefer it if we dismantled a useful, citywide Wi-Fi network to fix a nonexistent or relatively minor problem, it's worth remembering that masturbating in public remains a criminal offense, making the fact that it's happening at a free Wi-Fi pylon somewhat irrelevant. And while there's an argument to be made for loss of city character as New York evolved from punk rock minefield to glorified shopping mall, city residents that remember the apocalyptic nature of 70s and 80s NYC likely see sporadic homeless porn consumption as the very least of the city's worries.

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  • identicon
    John Cressman, 21 Jun 2016 @ 7:12am

    But...but... THE CHILDREN!!!!

    OMG... the children! The children! Or wait... is this TERROR! TERROR!

    I always forget which excuse we're on...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      kallethen, 21 Jun 2016 @ 7:15am

      Re: But...but... THE CHILDREN!!!!

      The children are being terrorized!

      There, that hits both just in case, right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re: But...but... THE CHILDREN!!!!

        What about guns. Don't forget guns. You need to consider guns.

        Now that there are guns that look like smart phones, if you stop smart phones from accessing porn, you stop guns from accessing porn. It's a slippery slope leading to everyone's guns being taken away. Or requiring law-abiding citizens to click an "I am 18" button before defending themselves from terrorists.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 8:33am

          Re: Re: Re: But...but... THE CHILDREN!!!!

          All smart phones look like guns, just ask the police, especially those who shoot anyone pulling their phone out.

          So the conclusion should be that these kiosks are locations that will be stalked by police, looking for anyone who 'moves their hands toward their waists' or 'pulls out a gun...erm cell phone' or 'acts suspiciously like they were going to corrupt the morals of a child' or 'seemed to be looking for child porn' and then shoot them because it is always easier to search someone after they have been shot, and they complain less, at least initially.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          kallethen, 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:37am

          Re: Re: Re: But...but... THE CHILDREN!!!!

          The guns are being terrorized by children on smart phones!

          I think? ... I'm getting confused now.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2016 @ 7:47am

        Re: Re: But...but... THE CHILDREN!!!!

        > The children are being terrorized!

        ... and whose fault is that? You should have taught your children how to surf safely!

        This is the third time this week you've asked me to come get the malware off your kiosk.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        TenSteppen, 21 Jun 2016 @ 5:33pm

        Re: Re: But...but... THE CHILDREN!!!!

        No, No, No!

        You gots it all wronggg, it's da children dat is de terrorists, they terrorizing adults all ovah da nayboorhoodie. If youz gunna goz aftah da terrorizts, you must go aftah da childrensss. Deyz yellin n hollerin sometin feerst a boutz not bee inz ablez to axes dere larnin when diz free webs shtuff is turnid offz.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 21 Jun 2016 @ 12:59pm

      Re: But...but... THE CHILDREN!!!!

      Well yes, think of the children. "Look at what happens to people who watch porn. He's homeless now."

      If this isn't moralicious, I don't know what is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2016 @ 3:01pm

      Re: But...but... THE CHILDREN!!!!

      Children, terrorism, file-sharing, drugs...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JBDragon (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 7:28am

    As long as the Taxpayers are not on the hook for the costs, who cares!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DOlz (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 7:34am

    What the hell! A city government doing something for its non-rich citizens? Don’t they know that’s one of the signs of the apocalypse?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JBDragon (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 5:15pm

      Re:

      Because NY has a super high tax rate, and giving out more freebies is not the job of the Government. Spreading the wealth is just government sponsored theft. In the end, the Taxpayers flee, which has been happening in N.Y.

      Here's something, Go to a Public Library. Free Internet, Free Everything. Doesn't cost anyone a penny. How about N.Y. just take $20 from you every month and just hand it over to some random Poor person. You sure don't seem to mind at all.

      The so called POOR person in this country is far, far richer them the real poor people in other countries. If the Poor want stuff. Get a Education, a Job, stop popping out kids you can't afford, etc. It's not my responsibility to pay people to sit around on their butts, playing the Xbox and popping out kids. I work my butt of for what little money I get, being single and no kids, I get raped in taxes. My property Taxes are the same as the family of Mexican's right across the street with a bunch of Kids and cars all over.

      We had a Revolution in this country because of high taxes. Which was something in the single digits. When is enough, enough? It's almost worth not working and just getting free everything. It really is at that point in many states. Cheap housing, free money, Free child care, free car, free phone, free health care, the list goes on and on.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        TenSteppin, 21 Jun 2016 @ 5:41pm

        Re: Re:

        Get a Education..

        What? I can tell you must have skipped out on your own education, now didn't you JBDragon.

        HLMFtFY - "Get an education."

        You know, there's a simple answer for all of this.
        Place a 10% federal sales tax on stocks, bonds and futures from any stock market globally.
        If an entity within the U.S. makes the purchase, the tax is applied at the time of the sale.
        No more taxes on "capital gains", no more tax breaks for "losses". Every time a purchase occurs, boom, it is taxed.
        If it is from a foreign stock exchange, an additional 5% is added, bringing it to a 15% tax rate.
        If an entity tries to "hide" the purchase, an 85% penalty is added to the purchase once it has been exposed, bringing the tax to 100% of the purchase price, doubling the cost of the purchase.

        Boom! End of our deficit, the poor will have plenty and the middle-income families will start to feel rich again.

        Only the 1 percenters, the stock brokers, the financial institutions, like banks who play roulette with depositor's money, will feel the pain in this.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:09pm

        Re: Re:

        Nice soapbox, shame it didn't come with better propaganda.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        ryuugami, 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:16pm

        Re: Re:

        Here's something, Go to a Public Library. Free Internet, Free Everything. Doesn't cost anyone a penny.

        *facepalm* *facedesk* Ouch. Are... are you actually serious? I wonder, how do you think libraries are funded? Pixie dust and good feelings?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:47pm

        Re: Re:

        Here's something, Go to a Public Library. Free Internet, Free Everything. Doesn't cost anyone a penny. How about N.Y. just take $20 from you every month and just hand it over to some random Poor person. You sure don't seem to mind at all.

        Try handing a homeless person a twenty and say "but on condition that you use it for educating yourself". Now I am perfectly aware that your personal choice would be handing a homeless person the finger and say "but on condition that you starve because the U.S. is a great nation of self-made men. I was born without a penny and had to earn my food and education myself, every penny, on the streets in a land where you don't get a job without a home and an education, and it did me good. And nobody thought it would be a good idea to help me in any way. I had to save for a year before I could buy my first hand gun."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 22 Jun 2016 @ 11:27pm

        Re: Re:

        " Go to a Public Library. Free Internet, Free Everything. Doesn't cost anyone a penny"

        What about when the libraries close, isn't this a better option? Does the library offer the same free phone calls these terminals do? Isn't it better to have an automated console rather than having librarians waste their time on PC tech support, etc.?

        "How about N.Y. just take $20 from you every month and just hand it over to some random Poor person. You sure don't seem to mind at all."

        If you don't understand the difference between offering a free service and handing over cash, you might want to take some of that library education yourself, at least until you understand how bad the cash idea would be compared to services rendered.

        "We had a Revolution in this country because of high taxes."

        No, you had a revolution sparked by taxation without representation. Do you not understand the difference?

        "It's almost worth not working and just getting free everything."

        ...if you're living in poverty. If you don't see the value to society of having people able to get education, child care, healthcare even if they can't pay the full price yourself? Again, you might want to take advantage of some of that free education since what you've paid for hasn't done you any good, it seems.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2016 @ 7:41am

    Old Man Yells at Cloud

    news at 11



    also, get off my lawn

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Adam (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 7:43am

    Oh noz!

    How long before we see accusations that an innocent city boy was able to be recruited by ISIS on free city wi-fi and now it's all the cities fault? ...because personal accountability doesn't exist any more. Shame.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ronnie Raygun, 21 Jun 2016 @ 7:49am

    I'm from the media and I'm here to help.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 8:00am

    So let me get this straight....

    An old man who moved from NY to Dallas Texas is upset over the skeeziness of times square because he saw porn. Apparently this man is a shut in as I have only been to Dallas once and I could tell you where there are 9 strip clubs and porn shops all within a 3 block radias of where I was staying in downtown Dallas when I went there for training. And I only went to and from the building where my IT training was. I wasn't rish enough to go to these places because they are focused on ball players but still. I had to shower when I got back to the hotel after seeing the people in those areas. Maybe he needs to lighten up or stop visiting NY

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2016 @ 8:10am

    NYP is owned by Murdoch

    so by definition its anti internet and freedoms

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 21 Jun 2016 @ 8:27am

    Let them watch porn!

    So what if the homeless watch porn??? Better than them panhandling me, and it might make them want to live in a place where they can watch it and act on it in private, in peace!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:52am

      Re: Let them watch porn!

      But that would imply that the homeless are actual human beings deserving to be treated with the respect due to actual human beings. Madness, I tell you!

      "it might make them want to live in a place where they can watch it and act on it in private"

      I can guarantee you that vast majority of the homeless already seriously want a place to live even without the lure of private masturbation. Most of the homeless are not in that state because they want to be there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    beech, 21 Jun 2016 @ 8:43am

    Has the NY Post had many full page Comcast ads lately?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:00am

    I doubt it is going to be a minor nuisance

    I mean, get real: one of the biiig Internet bandwidth hogs is porn, possibly even more so than spam.

    It's unrealistic to assume that the usage patterns would be significantly different with homeless people. Usually they are without a fixed occupation either but also have to be prepared to be on the move. So short-attention-span entertainment is quite likely a reasonable fit.

    What makes it, of course, is the lack of a private environment. This is what they have to deal with constantly, so they might get sort-of numb to it. Maybe it will let the better-off invest more thought in how one can provide the homeless with a bit more temporary privacy and shelter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:59am

      Re: I doubt it is going to be a minor nuisance

      "I mean, get real: one of the biiig Internet bandwidth hogs is porn"

      Setting aside the misleading term "hogs", this is something that isn't nearly as true as it used to be. The biggest user of bandwidth now, by a longshot, is Netflix (around 35%). YouTube is #2. If you combine the top 3 porn sites, some statistics place that in the #3 position, but most place it lower down in the top 10.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JBDragon (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 5:21pm

        Re: Re: I doubt it is going to be a minor nuisance

        I think torrents is up there high on the list. While you hear "The Internet is PORN!" I don't think it's in the top 10, let alone the top 5.

        Really, who cares. These so call POOR people have Smartphones to watch PORN in the first place? Really, so called Poor people in this country are not Poor! Look at Poor people in other countries, now THEY'RE Poor!!!

        Must be part of the Free Obama Phone plans. So it's really OBAMA that's allowing the homeless to watch porn on their Smartphones with the free Wifi.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 6:30pm

          Re: Re: Re: I doubt it is going to be a minor nuisance

          According to the story, the homeless are using communal tablets, not their own personal smartphones.

          That the poor in the US are better off than the poor in some other countries in meaningless. People in the US still die every day as a direct result of being poor. Every winter in my area, there are homeless people who literally die of exposure on the city streets. Homeless people in the US die of starvation. Homeless people (as well as poor people who have homes) in the US die due to lack of medical care.

          Not sure why you bring up Obama, though. He doesn't factor into this at all.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            ryuugami, 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I doubt it is going to be a minor nuisance

            Not sure why you bring up Obama, though. He doesn't factor into this at all.

            It's a nervous tick. You know, some people tap their feet, some people OBAMA IS A COMMUNIST! ...uh, er, sorry about that.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            David, 22 Jun 2016 @ 1:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I doubt it is going to be a minor nuisance

            Not sure why you bring up Obama, though. He doesn't factor into this at all.

            Obama factors into a whole lot less that you'd expect an elected president to, particularly viewed in light of both his campaign promises and nominal powers. A reverse Rick Blaine (campaign promise: "I stick my head out for nobody.") if you want to.

            Round up the usual suspects.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 22 Jun 2016 @ 5:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I doubt it is going to be a minor nuisance

            Obama is a right wing punchbag despite the fact that he's a neocon authoritarian. Right wingers today are actually far to the right of where Reagan was in the Eighties, they just can't bring themselves to admit it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              David, 22 Jun 2016 @ 6:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I doubt it is going to be a minor nuisance

              "far to the right of where Reagan was" implies that Reagan was somewhere in his own right. Now his team was really really afraid of the times where he was speaking for himself because he was not as much "far to the right" as downwards, namely digging himself in a hole.

              But most of the time he was acting before a blue screen (or rather red screen), leaving the details to be edited in to the directors.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:11am

    Why do people with a major public platform always think that they can impose their morals on everybody else?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    afn29129 (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:18am

    Homeless with Internet, such priorities.

    Such priorities. Now the homeless can do Twitter and Facebook while urinating on the sidewalk. We now officially feel good 'cause we gave homeless people Internet when there's a whole host of other things that would be much more useful/helpful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:29am

      Re: Homeless with Internet, such priorities.

      It's an excellent strategy: now everybody will want them to have privacy oh my goodness.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:34am

      Re: Homeless with Internet, such priorities.

      You seem to be under the impression that the WiFi was put in place to benefit the homeless. No worries it was really put in for us rich people with homes and phones..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    HollandoF (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 9:55am

    Possible upside

    Thinking long-term, and trying for positive emergent outcomes:
    Everyone likes porn (come on....)
    So I bet a lot of non-homeless folks will be watching porn on the network too. Keeps it off their home networks, etc.
    This isn't a bi deal because they are rubbing it out in private. Those people likely won't support an overbroad filter on the public wi-fi, because.. .porn!
    So, it then turns out there really is a problem with the homeless self-pleasuring on the street with their new visual aids.
    Solution?
    Get them all homes!
    They 're off the street, and everyone enjoys free-wi-fi and porn in blissful privacy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2016 @ 10:02am

    People still read American propaganda, how amusing. Sounds like it might be a case for the Bureau to look into, seeing as how it is rumored they have shuttered their child pornography web site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2016 @ 10:55am

    So my question is when did the homeless start getting cell phones and tablets donated to them? Where are all these on line homeless coming from? I mean to see porn on the street because some homeless has access and hardware just amazes me the event could take place in the first place, not to mention how many homeless would have to be in Times Square before everyone was exposed to porn?


    As far as city services making access to wifi possible for the homeless, how does the NY Post figure homeless stop being homeless without a method to contact them to find other city services as well as finding out about jobs and opportunities that could lead to them not being homeless anymore? It looks to me like being homeless is more desirable to the NY Post than having a method to change it. In reflection it sounds like they are the supporters of large crowds of homeless because of the lack of ability to contact the world at large to learn of methods of change, means they will remain homeless while more join their ranks.

    Obliviously The New York Post is yet to learn that porn exists on the internet since they had to go to Times Square and lean over some homeless to find it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 11:13am

    DO YOU REALLY WANT PRIVACY??

    #1 with a Rocket to the moon..

    WOW, do you want privacy?
    Do you want a conversation RECORDED?
    Do you want your Net traffic Taced??
    HOW about being able to WATCH you as you travel past EACH and EVERY KIOSK...

    I wonder if there are builtin Cameras..and isometrics..
    PICTURE PLEASE..
    SCAN completed, NO BOMB, 2 Phones, 1 tablet, and Possible Cancer detected..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 21 Jun 2016 @ 11:25am

    Visionary G. B. Trudeau

    Here is a classical Doonesbury sequence about Safe Whoopee.
    There is an intermission week of Wall Street strips, but after that the key slogan gets presented as
    "Condos. Use them in good health."

    29 years before today. If that's not porn for the homeless, I don't know what is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2016 @ 1:38pm

    Deeper pockets

    Cue the woman suing for the porn search records.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Jun 2016 @ 3:48pm

    Were they just pissed that they offered Paywall skipping?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2016 @ 8:36am

    Post Schmost

    The Post has plenty of money. Why doesn't it help the homeless by getting them shelter? That's better than free porn for people who can't afford cell phones anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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