Letter to the Editor of The Intercept from the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications
More than 4 million New Yorkers and visitors have used LinkNYC’s superfast free wi-fi; the City of New York has protected the privacy of each one. The City will never create or support any initiative that threatens the privacy of users.
To the Editor:
Re: “ARE NEW YORK’S FREE LINKNYC INTERNET KIOSKS TRACKING YOUR MOVEMENTS?” (September 8, 2018)
As the City’s administrators of LinkNYC, we are pleased to succinctly answer the question posed in the headline: No.
The City of New York conceptualized and developed the effort to provide free, superfast wi-fi to residents and visitors, fundamentally driven by a mission and responsibility to serve the public — which means unequivocally protecting the privacy of its users. Said another way: as a public project, LinkNYC can only exist if it conforms to the City’s unambiguous commitment to user privacy. That means the City does not, and will never, allow the network operator — CityBridge — to exploit the individual identifiers or precise location of users.
In the 21st century, government’s responsibility to keep its people safe extends to the digital sphere. That is a sacrosanct responsibility that has been fundamental to the LinkNYC program since its inception. In other words, technology will continue to evolve, but these values will not. We will maintain a steadfast commitment to user privacy, and make that commitment real on the streets of New York City as LinkNYC continues to expand in all five boroughs.
Commissioner, New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications