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23 March 2016

NYC Wi-Fi Terminals Blasted as “Wi-Spy” by NYCLU

NYC Wi-Fi Terminals Blasted as “Wi-Spy” by NYCLU
by Jack O'Dwyer, odwyerpr.com, 23 March 2016

The 7,500+ Wi-Fi terminals that are being erected in New York bankrolled by Google, Titan Outdoor Adv. and Qualcomm (wireless company) violate privacy rights of users, says theNew York Civil Liberties Union.

NYCLU has told Mayor Bill de Blasio that the terminals, which are replacing curbside pay phones, will allow the LinkNYC to retain “a vast amount of information about users—often indefinitely.”

Users must submit email addresses and allow CityBridge, one of the companies behind the stations, to monitor what websites they visit, how long they stay on a webpage, and what other links they click on.

“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 rise of abuse, misuse and unauthorized access,” said a posting March 21 by Michael Krieter on LibertyBlitzkrieg.com.

Eleven Entities Involved in LinkNYC

The eleven entities involved in LinkNYC were detailed in an article March 4 by Business Insider.

They are Alphabet, the parent of Google; NYC Dept. of Information Technology and Telecommunications; Sidewalk Labs headed by Dan Doctoroff; Control Group (leadership is not revealed); Qualcomm; Antenna; Intersection (coordinating group formed by merger of Control Group and Titan); CityBridge, and Civic Smartscapes.

Attempts to reach anyone at any of these entities have not been successful. Emails and phone calls are ignored. None has ever staged a press conference on the installation of the Wi-Fi terminals. Critics say LinkNYC and CityBridge serve as "fronts" for Google, Titan Advertising, Qualcomm and other entities.

BlitzKrieg noted that the launch of LinkNYC “occurred at the same time that New York Police Dept. Commissioner Bratton spoke about the Apple controversy” which involved security of user’s emails and computer use.

Data collected at the LinkNYC terminals by environmental sensors or cameras may be available to the city or New York Police Dept., says BlitzKreig.


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