It’s been a rough few weeks for the media company Intersection and its LinkNYC “smart cities” ad posters. First, dozens were vandalized and damaged. Now an activist group is duct-taping anti-LinkNYC messages to the screens.
RethinkLinkNYC is a New York-based community group that opposes the screens, primarily on the basis of privacy concerns.
The group’s website says:
Hundreds of LinkNYC kiosks are going up every month. Each kiosk is equipped with microphones, bluetooth beacons, and outward-facing cameras. These technologies have the ability to collect personal information about every New Yorker. Law enforcement agencies can easily access this information, corporations sell it for profit, and the government now has the tools to practice mass surveillance.
LinkNYC is not community WiFi. It is an opportunity for surveillance, data collection and corporate profit boxed and marketed as free WiFi. We believe that the basic building blocks of the LinkNYC program need to be re-thought. Free WiFi should really be free, and citizens – not corporations – must have the freedom to decide if and when their personal information is used.
True community WiFi unites and connects people. It affirms freedom, openness and trust.
Say no to LinkNYC. Another way is possible. Rethink Link.
PSA from @RethinkLinkNYC: "Each kiosk includes 30 sensors and 3 security cameras," footage from which may be shared with law enforcement. (Quote from Gothamist article: 'Yes, LinkNYC Kiosks Are Giant Data Harvesting Surveillance Cameras [for Google], Obviously') #rethinklink pic.twitter.com/epnFcZUacs
— IoT Privacy Forum (@IoTPrivacyForum) April 29, 2019
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.