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Communications Google Wireless Networking

Google-Funded Free Wi-Fi Kiosks Are Scrapping Web Browsing Because Too Many People Were Using it For Porn (businessinsider.com) 140

This is why New Yorkers can't have nice things. LinkNYC, the initiative to install super-fast wifi hubs in New York City, is suspending web browsing on all its tablets after 8 months due to "inappropriate behavior," the company says, according to a report on BusinessInsider. From the article:Google parent company Alphabet funds LinkNYC through its spinoff Sidewalk Labs. "... 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 company writes in a statement. DNAInfo previously reported that people were using the hubs to watch porn.
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Google-Funded Free Wi-Fi Kiosks Are Scrapping Web Browsing Because Too Many People Were Using it For Porn

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  • Lol (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Like there's any other use for the Internet.

    • However, I expect it is just people leaving pages open for the "shock" value. Then actual enjoyment of the content.

      • Re:Lol (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 14, 2016 @04:27PM (#52888569)
        That's even worse! Did you mean "than"?
        • When every succeeding generation is playing with less of a deck than the predecessor then what else could one expect? Make stupid people, people will use things for stupid reasons.

          • by doccus ( 2020662 )

            When every succeeding generation is playing with less of a deck than the predecessor then what else could one expect? Make stupid people, people will use things for stupid reasons.

            At the rate grammar is collapsing (not to mention spelling) each succeeding generation will be so increasingly stupid that eventually they will no longer be able to write, probably saving us all from horribly misspelt and worded words and phrases. Not to mention unreadable comments and articles. Even (especially) in /.

      • Probably. You can't really enjoy porn in public, but leaving porn in unexpected places is a classic prank. Trivial in execution, good for a laugh if you can witness or hear about the reaction.

        Not me though. I have more class than that.

        • Re:Lol (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2016 @05:17PM (#52888917) Journal

          Trivial in execution, good for a laugh

          Yeah, amateur shock is "funny" in the same way that my brother in law dropping trou at Thanksgiving was funny. He isn't allowed in my house until he apologizes, and at 55 years old, still hasn't figured out what he did wrong.

          At some point, the shock value isn't funny anymore (if it was ever that way) People usually grow out of that once they get out of puberty, some people never do.

          • respectfully, I disagree...the older you get, the better shock value becomes.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              It is only shocking how little people respect others. IT is pure lack of respect to be disrespectful for "shock" value. If you don't value respect, then don't be "shocked" when I don't respect you. Except, you'll have earned my disrespect.

              • An important element of the prank is that it depends upon the victim's 'cooperation.' Any person finding the pornography page open could, in seconds, close the tab and get on with whatever they wanted. That would be the sensible course of action, and the end of the attempted prank. The fun comes when the victim cannot help but overreact - when they jump and scream, try to shield the eyes of children, cower in fear from the controls and start shouting their outrage to all nearby. That's funny, and it's all t

              • I find it shocking that you find it shocking that little people (this includes dwarfs and midgets, I assume) respect others!

                In fact, I find it disrespectful to call them 'little people'. :-p

          • He isn't allowed in my house until he apologizes, and at 55 years old, still hasn't figured out what he did wrong.

            To be perfectly honest I can't figure out what he did wrong either. I do however notice that someone in your family is incredibly easily offended.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by jandrese ( 485 )
          Sure you can if you're homeless. Apparently these free internet kiosks are a magnet for homeless people, which is part of the problem. They're complaining about the porn, but really the complaint is about the homeless people suddenly being visible again. Gotta shove them back into alleyways and get them out of sight again.
          • Gotta shove them back into alleyways and get them out of sight again.

            This is Manhattan. No alleys.

          • What virtue you have. You're opinion is based on just that, your personal opinion. Unless there are free kiosks that cannot display porn, you have nothing to substantiate your claim.

        • You can't really enjoy porn in public...

          Maybe you can't... http://nypost.com/2016/09/11/b... [nypost.com]

      • You expect wrong. You're forgetting that it's New York City. It's not even the looking that's the problem, mentally ill homeless openly masturbating while watching porn on these kiosks is happening all the time, usually (but not always) at night, and the police keep getting calls... that's why it's being shut down, not because someone loaded a nudie pic and ran. Heck, men obviously masturbating doesn't even require porn here, not a week goes by where the police don't put out a flyer asking for help locating
    • Slashdot... Where else would so many confessed wankers would hang out?
      • As opposed to places where people who deny being wankers hang out? Pretty much everybody on the planet is a wanker or a wanker and a liar. If you really aren't masturbating, you probably need to see a doctor or psychiatrist.
    • Well, no one could have anticipated this. Or at the very least the organization that put up these kiosks would have needed a lot of Internet experience to think that this might happen.

      If the problem is that porn is being left on equipment when a user is done I might suggest simply resetting and rebooting the device after each use. That would be easy enough to do with one or more simple sensors and should be done for the security of all users anyway. If it is that Google doesn't like what the users are usi

      • Well, no one could have anticipated this. Or at the very least the organization that put up these kiosks would have needed a lot of Internet experience to think that this might happen.

        All it would have taken to anticipate this is five minutes shoulder surfing the computers in the nearest public library. Any library. Anywhere.

    • Obligatory viewing link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • So what (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 14, 2016 @04:11PM (#52888445)

    If I want to watch porn and masturbate at a kiosk, who are you to take away my American freedoms? George Washington fought for my right to masturbate at kiosks.

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      If I want to watch porn and masturbate at a kiosk, who are you to take away my American freedoms? George Washington fought for my right to masturbate at kiosks.

      Right to bare your gun?

  • I bet they found lots of DNA info after people were done with those tablets.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 14, 2016 @04:14PM (#52888477)

    Porn or cat videos. Or playing Candy Crush for hours. Once again, addressing the wrong problem. Why should it matter what I watch on them. The real problem is here is monopolisation of the devices. I can monopolise one of those devices just as easily watching cat videos.

    For once. Just once, will somebody look at a problem and address it properly rather than taking a side-swipe at some unrelated hot-button topic?

    • by Koreantoast ( 527520 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2016 @04:19PM (#52888509)
      If you read the article, that's exactly what they're exploring: time limits and other ways to prevent monopolization. The wifi services, free calls, and maps are still enabled. This is just a temporary measure until they come up with a better solution.

      LinkNYC says that it's working with city officials to come up with potential solutions, like time limits, so that it can allow users to browse the web once more. In the meantime, people will still be able to use the tablets to make calls and look at maps.

      • I wonder when such a service, when offered for free, is subject to net neutrality. Watching art photos in a museum is art porn. Maps of Indian restaurants for those that are palak paneer-deprived is also porn.

        The only way to limit this is to curate it, which then removes liability protection for services rendered, if I'm not mistaken.

        I understand the purpose, but without curation of some type, it's an open platform for users. Curating it costs $$, and so the ad revenue drops, making it less useful. Oh, wait

      • by Aaden42 ( 198257 )

        This is just a temporary measure until they come up with a better solution.

        Sorry, I don't buy that. If the problem is that some people are over-using the systems preventing others from using them, then completely disabling them for everybody while you look for a better solution is worse than doing nothing. You've turned unavailable for some people in some places at some times to unavailable for all people every place all the time.

        There's no question this was a knee jerk reaction to "pr0n is bad!" They're not trying to prevent people from hogging them. They're preventing people

        • by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2016 @04:57PM (#52888787)

          They're preventing people from viewing material they consider objectionable.

          Their hubs, their rules. This is a classic example of the tragedy of the commons. There's always some douche who wants to abuse it. I'm curious as to why your ire isn't directed at the abusers.

          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            Their hubs, their rules. This is a classic example of the tragedy of the commons. There's always some douche who wants to abuse it. I'm curious as to why your ire isn't directed at the abusers.

            When you're offering a community service "my stuff, my rules" doesn't fly, or at least, doesn't make you a good guy for offering that service.

            • Yes it does, it's your stuff. If people abuse it, even in just your opinion, it's your prerogative simply stop making it available. Unless you're promoting that once offered the "community" can *force* you to keep making it available instead of ponying up the resources you were. Is that your position?
              • by lgw ( 121541 )

                That's mostly my position. 2 distinct points:
                * If you offer a community service, that makes you a good person, unless there are a lot of strings attached to the "gift", in which case it makes you a bad person.
                * If you offer a community service, and people come to depend on it, you incur a responsibility to keep doing it. You chose to become responsible, and congrats you succeeded.

                It's the nature of responsibility that you are required to plan ahead.

              • Yes it does, it's your stuff. If people abuse it, even in just your opinion, it's your prerogative simply stop making it available. Unless you're promoting that once offered the "community" can *force* you to keep making it available instead of ponying up the resources you were. Is that your position?

                They were GRANTED the right to install it on the streets. That comes with a responsibility.

                But what they grand-parent post said though was that, it at least takes away the value of the gift. It is like giving your kid a car but then saying it can only be used to vist grandmom and fetch you yourself when your are too drunk at the pub. Sure it your gift and your kid, so you can set any rules you want, but it does take away nearly 100% of the value as a gift.

                • That is basically what the tragedy of the commons is about--what happened isn't like giving your kid a car, it's like giving your kid keys to the family car...and having your kid decide that hey, since it's not their car, there's nothing wrong with doing things to it that run up mechanics' and body shop bills...and rarely bringing the car home so you can see what the damage is this time.

                  See also 'diffusion of responsibility' and other related concepts, though honestly most places deal with this overall prob

          • isn't directed at the abusers.

            Was the abuse defined upfront? If I go to an all you can eat dinner is it abuse if I eat all I can eat? If I use a free service, is it abuse that I do what I want with it for free when no restrictions are placed on it up front?

            There is someone doing some abusing here, but it's not the people using the service.

        • More likely they are trying to prevent a backlash - get them pulled quick before some state congressman introduces another 'ban the porn' bill or the local tabloid fills with stories of how Google is endangering children.

        • This is just a temporary measure until they come up with a better solution.

          Sorry, I don't buy that. If the problem is that some people are over-using the systems preventing others from using them, then completely disabling them for everybody while you look for a better solution is worse than doing nothing. You've turned unavailable for some people in some places at some times to unavailable for all people every place all the time.

          No, they're not. You can still use the other functions - wifi services, free calls, and maps - as the poster you responded to points out! You can't do any of those things while someone is hogging the booth with porn (or anything else).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

        I live on the stretch of Third Avenue that first got these kiosks. I don't care what people watch on them, but it's a pretty regular thing to see somebody camping out next to one of them. Often they've overturned a trash can or newspaper vending box to use as a seat - though I've seen some wheelchairs being used for more comfortable seating. In any case, they're there for hours at a time, and the overall effect isn't much more appealing than a homeless guy sleeping in a cardboard box...

        That said, the who

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Ahhh. You live in that magic land where everybody can afford smartphones and big data plans to browse and watch videos for hours on end.

          How do I get there?

        • At least said homeless guy doesn't have time to mug you if he's on the internet kiosk all day.

    • This is google we are talking about. I'm sure they have tons of data about what people were actually watching while monopolizing the devices. My guess is there data shows that it was not pussycat videos that were being watched.

  • by bettodavis ( 1782302 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2016 @04:17PM (#52888491)
    I'm utterly shocked about this completely unexpected development.
    • My thoughts exactly. I would have been more shocked if they'd said "After 6 months barely any porn use!" I can't understand how this got into the deployment stage without someone with a clue going "You know, we're just putting porn kiosks out everywhere."
      • The should have had a terms of use thing saying that if access to porn sites were made, a warning would pop up, and if the user accepted, their use would be recorded and sent to an admin team who could check out what was being watched through the tablets. Then said team would have an excuse for looking at porn on the payroll.

      • Sadly, many of the people in power pushing for Utopia have no understanding of Human Nature. Lots of suckers fall for the same rhetoric they do, and the same delusional beliefs. "Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb."
      • Many, many years ago, my company rolled out its first Intranet. Not all staff were able to use computers during their jobs so we set up a kiosk in the cafeteria (a very public area) to let them look up information on their lunch break. On an almost weekly basis, I would be called down to the cafeteria because the kiosk was showing pornographic pop-up ads. (This was before my company installed a web filter.) Needless to say, some night staff member was using the computer to browse porn sites and kept agreein

  • by tacokill ( 531275 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2016 @04:24PM (#52888549)
    Who would have guessed that a free service would be abused? It's almost like there should be a word or saying for that. Oh yea, there is: Tragedy of the Commons
    This issue seems to come up a lot, doesn't it?
    • It seems that anymore, we're taught that doesn't really exist. Which is a shame. Because it obviously does. =]
    • Who would have guessed that a free service would be abused? It's almost like there should be a word or saying for that. Oh yea, there is: Tragedy of the Commons This issue seems to come up a lot, doesn't it?

      I've only ever seen homeless people using these things. I've seen them doing all sorts of things with them - one was signing up for a Twitter account, another was watching music videos on Vimeo or whatever it is and dancing in the street while singing along. I'm not at all surprised that porn is being watched also.

    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      Who would have guessed that a free service would be abused? It's almost like there should be a word or saying for that. Oh yea, there is: Tragedy of the Commons

      Tragedy of the Commons isn't about this case. Tragedy of the Commons when there's a common resource, and individual self-interest results in that resource being depleted even though that's contrary to the collective group-interest.

      This doesn't apply at all in this case. The only plausible resource is "time on the tablet". It's not being depleted at any faster rate by one person using it exclusively then it would be if everyone shared time more equally.

  • by paiute ( 550198 )
    Butter my butt and call me toast - who would ever have expected that?
  • The Tradjizzdy of the Commons
  • Seriously - the fact that most people use it for porn should tell them that - most people want to watch porn. It's kind of silly to try to act all paternalistic and stuff and say that this is wrong - but in fact apparently it's Google that is wrong and immature, unable to accept a basic truth about the human condition.
    • by Kkloe ( 2751395 )
      google probably dont care of right or wrong of porn, problem is more that the porn-watchers takes up bandwidth and then google would need to put down more $$ to get a better internet connection

      + as there is no google-owned porn.com or google-porn ads they dont make any money out of the porn watchers
  • When I was at a Sun Microsystems early in internet growth before the Dot-Com Bust and widespread adoption and growth, the porn industry was one of the largest purchasers of hardware and software. No one liked to talk about it so a lot of people don't know. It is a lot like the oldest profession, far more people demand it than will admit to it and it is big business. HD porn takes a lot of bandwidth just like HD movies. why single out one commercial market from the other? Let people decide what they want to
  • See? This is why we, the unwashed Yankees can not have nice things, while the wise and enlightened Europeans [slashdot.org] are going to enjoy the Wi-Fi provided by their loving and caring governments.

  • Web browsing, email, and other non video streaming apps take a trivial amount of bandwidth. I allow video streaming on my open wifi for about 10 minutes and then traffic control kicks in making streaming not very pleasant for that user but regular Internet access still works for everyone. Users eventually get with the program and realize they can watch short Youtube videos or stream music all day long but they can't watch Netflix or porn all day. It doesn't matter if it's Netflix or porn anyway.
  • Well.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Thursday September 15, 2016 @06:58AM (#52891749) Journal

    If you offer free potatoes, you must take into account that somebody will come with a truck.

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