Unintended Consequences of Free Wi-Fi in New York City

It sounded like a great idea at the time and maybe it still is.  Mayor Bill de Blasio’s technology plan to provide free access to the Internet throughout the boroughs of New York has run into some unsavory results.  Let’s just say that LinkNYC has attracted many users who see unlimited opportunities to indulge their private (illegal?) obsessions at the city’s expense.  You can now access you favorite online resources for drugs, alcohol and pornography, and it’s all free at your local LinkNYC kiosk.  As Frank Sinatra used to croon, “Start spreading the news . . . “

 Well, in this case, the news about LinkNYC will be changing very rapidly.  The Mayor and his administrative officials now find themselves in the role of censors and overseers who will now have to modify and possibly monitor the usage of these kiosks.  The president of the Garment District Alliance, a business group in Manhattan, declared that the kiosks have created a really unfortunate and deplorable condition.  She also added that when something has an outcome that you completely weren’t anticipating, then you have to go back and reconsider.  Now who wouldn’t agree with that?

Maybe you would have to get a license of some kind with a unique password that would grant you access?  Wow, what a bureacratic nightmare or boon that would be, depending on your perspective, in a city of eight million plus people.  Talk about you unintended consequences!

Ray Myers

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