At the South by Southwest festival in Austin this year, the Bartle Bogle Hegarty marketing firm is holding a strange and highly controversial social experiments. Called Homeless Hotspots, it consists of equipping a number of homeless people with portable WiFi hotspots to hang around the streets of Austin. Anybody who would like to access the internet through these human hotspots can donate any amount of money they want, which will go directly into the pockets of the homeless person. A simple concept that’s based on the Street Newspaper model but as you can imagine – it has drawn a lot of flak from the media.
Time Newsfeed asked, “Anyone else find using homeless persons as ‘Homeless Hotspots’ at SXSWi disturbing, dehumanizing, offensive?” while Gizmodo UK has compared being a human hotspot akin to being “coffee tablets” or “hunted as game.” ReadWriteWeb even took to the streets to interview one of these hotspots and shared some interesting insights about the program, but the overall consensus seems to be of disapproval. What are your opinions about the Homeless Hotspot program?
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