Who owns and operates LinkNYC?
The short version: Google.
The long version: It's complicated. In November 2014, the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications authorized a consortium called CityBridge to install, operate and maintain the kiosk structures. Several members of this consortium have since bought each other, merged and switched names. As of this writing, the consortium is controlled by a subsidiary of Alphabet (the company formerly known as Google) called Intersection. CityBridge promised New York City $250,000 over the next twelve years for the right to have access to data collected via Wi-Fi links.
When will LinkNYC kiosks be installed?
Right now! Hundreds of new kiosks are being installed every month, and CityBridge has contracted to install at least 7,500 kiosks across all five boroughs within 8 years. NYC is piloting this program, but CityBridge is spreading -- Washington DC had its first kiosk installed this past summer.
Why is LinkNYC a problem?
This project does not serve the public interest as it claims. While it is marketed as helping to close thedigital divide, it does not take any real steps to do this. In addition, it significantly lowers the public’s expectation of privacy. As ever more data is collected, ever more surveillance becomes possible. CityBridge’s stated business plan does to physical space what browser cookies did to cyberspace. The LinkNYC sensors will be able to track New Yorkers’ movements, association patterns and online activities–information that ultimately could be used by governments and corporations as they saw fit.