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New York cuts off web browsing at Wi-Fi kiosks, because porn

The halt comes amid complaints of users loitering for hours and masturbating while watching pornography at the free LinkNYC kiosks.

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Residents have complained about users camping out for hours at the free LinkNYC kiosks.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Web browsing at New York's Wi-Fi kiosks has been shut off over concerns that users are loitering at the devices for hours and using them to watch pornography in public.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the move to disable LinkNYC devices' browsing capability began Wednesday and is expected to be completed by Friday. The action will not affect LinkNYC's other services including Wi-Fi, free phone calls and access to key city services, CBSNewYork reported.

"As of September 14, the web browsing function has been removed from all Link tablets," de Blasio's office said in a statement. "This function was removed in order to curb excessive, long-term, and inappropriate use of the kiosks."

The ambitious $200 million plan aimed to replace the Big Apple's thousands of payphone installations with sleek, 9.5-foot-tall hubs providing unlimited Internet access at super-high speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. Since its launch in 2014, the project has installed nearly 400 kiosks in three boroughs.

But residents complained of users camping out at the kiosks for hours. A Murray Hill resident took a photo of a person at a local kiosk who had been masturbating while watching pornography, the CBS station reported.