The city announced Wednesday it’s pulling the plug on the kiosk’s web browsing capabilities after a slew of complaints about people using them to check out smut sites.
The kiosks, which replaced outdated pay phones, will continue to grant users free phone calls, and access to maps and 311 services. And people can still use the hundreds of kiosks — sprinkled throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens — as a hot spot for Wi-Fi for their own devices.
“There were concerns about loitering and extended use of LinkNYC kiosks, so the mayor is addressing these quality-of-life complaints head on,” said Natalie Grybauskas, a spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio.
Some predicted that they would be a problem even before the first kiosk went up earlier this year.
Raymond Sanchez, the general counsel for Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. who was involved in the franchise deal, said worries about “misconduct” were brought up in the contract talks.
At the time, he said City Bridge, the private company that partnered with the city to turn old pay phones into high-tech kiosks, said they could add firewalls to block inappropriate sites, and would have timers so people couldn’t sit all day and watch videos.
The company did install safeguards to try to block porn, but it appeared that many users found ways to get around them.