New York City Launches Free Public Wi-Fi
NYC has launched a new program that replaces payphones throughout the city with free Wi-Fi and phone calls.
LinkNYC is a first-of-its-kind communications network providing super-fast Internet hotspots at no cost to taxpayers.
Each Link will provide secure, private, and free Wi-Fi, and two free USB charging ports to charge devices.
Free phone calls to anywhere in the US, City services, maps, and directions will be accessible using the new Link tablets.
At least 510 Links will be installed across the five boroughs by July 2016, and at least 7,500 will be installed over the next eight years.
LinkNYC is being built by CityBridge, a group of companies comprised of experts in technology, user experience, connectivity, and advertising that includes Intersection, Qualcomm, and CIVIQ Smartscapes.
The project is being managed by the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, the City's lead technology agency.
But some consumer advocates warn the project could pose a threat to privacy. Tony Cole, VP, CTO, Global Government at cybersecurity firm FireEye, told Security magazine: "Cybersecurity is a continuous process for every enterprise and every user. We must build policies, update them frequently and ensure they're followed by making users aware of the risk and putting active security controls in place where possible to minimize risk. While on public WiFi a few tips can help keep your data safe. Patch your systems regularly, mandate VPN use for all corporate systems, and turn off sharing. You should also ensure you aren't automatically joining unknown networks, only connect via https for any websites, and use two factor authentication. Know what network your connecting to since they're easily spoofed and make sure you're running a good endpoint security suite that's updated regularly. There are many other things as well, however this is a good start."