New York-based marketing firm BBH Labs equipped homeless people on the streets of Austin with devices that made them wireless hot spots. Internet seekers then paid what they wanted—in cash or via PayPal—to access the Web. The homeless men and women kept all of the money.
The media wasn’t amused, and now BBH Labs is licking its wounds.
ReadWriteWeb slammed BBH Labs, pointing out that these are people, “not helpless pieces of privilege-extending human infrastructure.”
The T-shirts that the people participating in the campaign wear say:
I’M [FIRST NAME],
A 4G HOTSPOT
SMS HH [FIRST NAME]
TO 25827 FOR ACCESS
Wired referred to it as something out of a “darkly satirical science-fiction dystopia.”
Gizmodo said it’s “categorically awful, and all for the convenience of SXSW’s widely well-off patrons.”