If you’re a NYC resident and find yourself excited about the city’s public Wi-Fi network known as LinkNYC, you may want to think again.
March 16, 2016 — The city’s new public Wi-Fi network LinkNYC raises several privacy concerns for users, the New York Civil Liberties Union announced today after sending a letter to the Office of the Mayor on Tuesday. CityBridge, the company behind the LinkNYC kiosks that have begun replacing phone booths in Manhattan, retains a vast amount of information about users – often indefinitely – building a massive database that carries a risk of security breaches and unwarranted NYPD surveillance.
“New Yorkers’ private online activities shouldn’t be used to create a massive database that’s within the ready grasp of the NYPD,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU. “Free public Wi-Fi can be an invaluable resource for this city, but New Yorkers need to know there are too many strings attached.”
LinkNYC, which was publicly launched in January, will eventually become a network of as many as 7,500 to 10,000 public kiosks offering fast and free Wi-Fi throughout all five boroughs. The sheer volume of information gathered by this powerful network will create a massive database of information that will present attractive opportunities for hackers and for law enforcement surveillance, and will carry an undue risk of abuse, misuse and unauthorized access.
You’ve been warned.