Here is What we Can Learn from New Yorkers Who Watched Porn on Free Internet

If you’ve been in New York City in the last year or so, you might have seen free Wi-Fi kiosks that had started replacing the 7,500 traditional phone booths in the city.

Providing free Wi-Fi and phone service, these kiosks could be used by anyone for consulting Maps, checking the weather, charging phones or browsing the internet in general.

However, instead of the ideal use case scenario of people making short stops, using the services and going on with their day, the kiosks became hubs for homeless people and others who watched movies, listened to loud songs and watched porn.

After repeated complaints and the original purpose all but defeated, the company behind the kiosks had to shut off access to the internet browsers last week while it decides how to tackle the issue.

While there is no direct comparison for these kiosks in emerging markets like Pakistan, what we learn is that just the provision of internet isn’t enough.

This goes for any market in the world as is clear from the NYC debacle. If you equip people with internet without educating them on the proper use of it, it’s probably going to be a waste. In fact, it could be counter productive and result in generating a skewed perception of the internet’s utility.

I came across a similar situation in Pakistan when I visited one of the telecenters that USF had setup in a far-flung area of Punjab, where internet was previously not available at all. USF told me that they had setup this internet facility, along side a lab and dedicated internet connection, at a staggering cost of Rs. 4 million.

However, with 2 Mbps internet speed (some five years back), the people there mostly used to watch movies and chat instead of doing any productive work.

There are countless other example available where we see people equipped with internet — but no proper awareness on how to use it productively — end up watching YouTube videos or even worse, graphic material. We’ve highlighted in the past how obscene YouTube videos are all that trends in Pakistan and it’s a byproduct of ignorance on the productive use of the internet.

With growing number of internet users in Pakistan, we believe government, concerned authorities and telcos must make people aware about productive internet usage along side providing them the internet (with 3G and 4G).

Telcos, who might be happy with data usage due to video streaming, must understand that their data demand will grow only when their bandwidth is used maturely and productively.

Mindless consumer mindset isn’t going to help anyone and there’s a corporate responsibility on these telcos to help the newly coming online population use the internet in a productive manner.

And most importantly, the real economic benefit of internet isn’t possible without its productive usage.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • I used to work as an internee in NBP back in 2010 and at that times, my fellow internees and a young employee use to watch porn on official computer during break. And there was no check and balance on the use of internet.

    • I worked as Network Admin in a company and there i monitored all PCs and i caught multiple males & females doing same activity in office. Itna tarsa diya hai media ne sub ko

    • sharam un ko magar ni ati :p honestly mujhe kahin free high speed internet milta ha to me mobile k firmwares , softwares waghera karta hun kabhi kabhi movies bh kr leta hun :)

    • you shouldn’t be disclosing this matter here as Fundamental principal of professional ethics. at least do not use the company name.

  • This is indeed a very important concern. Thanks for highlighting the issue!
    Now the question remains, how do we exactly make them use the internet for so called constructive purposes? I don’t see how illiterate people can do freelancer work online? They often only get scammed by captcha filing and ad viewing jobs.

    What can you suggest?

    • This can be discussed in detail. Govt should employ the experts to formulate a campaign and then a syllabus maybe for the masses.

      This is something that has to be very well thought of. It has to be done very rightly unlike any other sarkari projects as internet has the capacity to exploit a nation, make them sick and unproductive for life.

      • While I strongly agree with the second part of your comment, we should not rely merely on govt. to initiate such campaigns.

        Such awareness and training initiatives should be carried out by the internet community itself, and the NGOs working for similar causes.

        Not sure what folks at Internet Society (ISOC) Islamabad Chapters are doing in this regard. This is what they should be doing instead of wasting funds and energies on events that are only good for networking.

        • None of all the experts in the world and government programs and NGOs
          can actualy FORCE people to learn. If they don’t want to learn, they
          won’t. End of Story.

          Look, the ONLY way you will motivate such people to use internet usefully is to SHOW THEM HOW TO MAKE MONEY FROM IT. If people know they can spend 4 hours watching movies vs 4 hours earning Rs 2,000, THEY WILL CHOOSE THE LATTER OPTION. But again, not always: sometimes they want to relax. Who doesn’t?

          And I don’t understand what your hatered for ISOC is. Do you really honestly beleive that if someone has knowledge they should be forced to spend their time sharing it instead of doing something else? Before asking that of others, tell us what you have personally done with your immediate circle of poorer acquantainces to get them online training? Why haven’t you quit your day job to work 100% on educating the poor? After all by being able to post online you are part of the “internet community”

          • Unfortunately, you’ve taken things personally. That’s understandable since you’re an ISOC-IBD Chapter office bearer yourself.

            Now answering your questions about my contribution, let me remind you I’m not working for ISOC, you are! What have you done since it’s inception?

            Anything?

            • Ha ha, I live in Lahore, always have, and even didn’t vist Islamabad except for family trips twice in over past ten years. But it’s nice to know you can easily attack ME instead of the problem at hand. Shows much about you.

              100% deflection fail by you. Still awaiting your “contribution” apart from leg pulling of ISOC. You want them to do something, you don’t want to do anything, correct? You are a nobody with no power no knowledge nothing nothing nothing so you can contribute nothing, right? Yeah that’s what I thought. Can’t do jack, want others to do work for you. Failing citizen of Pakistan, you are.

        • Long term policy making must originate from government sector. Business (read private sector) just can’t deliver when it comes to state policies spanning several decades.

          Having said this, yes private sector, NGOs must also play a role.

          • Pehly basic needs to mil jayein awam ko, internet baad me mil jayega. Aap NYC ko compare kar rahay hain, wahan ki earn power or yahan ki earn power ko pehly compare karain bad me basic needs, us k baad agar jaga bachay free internet jesi cheez ko discuss karna mozoon rahyga

        • Discussions are done with experts, not charlatans. You are a failed experiment in animal-to-human mutation. Please spare us the misery, and make yourself scarce. No one is talking to you.

      • Allah ka wasta hy Amir bhai, govt ko corruption karny or bahar se naam k experts higher karny ka mashra mat dain

  • You could download games on free internet .. I mean look at the size of current AAA titles they are easily above 50Gbs free internet would help gamers atleast **winks** **winks**

  • Aamir bhai article tu theek likha hai aapne but yeh starting lines aapne kis ke liye likhi hian? Yeh New York City kia Punjab ke kisi District main shift hogaya hai?

    If you’ve been in New York City in the last year or so, you might have seen free Wi-Fi kiosks that had started replacing the 7,500 traditional phone booths in the city.

  • Productive productive productive???

    Can you tell what productivity is from perspective of 10 different peoples? a farmer, a labor, a factory worker, a 70 yr old retired, and some other type of people which constitute majority of our society.

    Watching movies, (all type) can’t be considered un-productive if you want to pass some time.

  • Aamir bhai, propakistani can write a detailed article on how one can use the internet in a constructive manner. If you want, I can write this.

  • I Have Rig Pc, To Install AAA Games, But no Internet Speed, So 50Gb Games i cant instal,
    The Should Sell net at Low Price.

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