Straight from a horror story: human "homeless hotspots"

Straight from a horror story: human
SXSW is where tech, pop culture and bad taste meet. That’s the only conclusion you can arrive at after seeing this horrific idea become reality: the human hotspot. Oh yes, it’s real - BBH, a (sick) New York ad company, is converting homeless people into 4G mobile hotspots. Yes, that “campaign” is seriously aimed to “benefit” the homeless and create jobs for them. All the proceeds from those paying for 4G access goes to the homeless. We're sure they will thank BBH later.

The company didn’t just overlook the fact that this is beyond immoral and degrading for us as humans - it’s actually defending its position.

"The worry is that these people are suddenly just hardware, but frankly, I wouldn't have done this if i didn't believe otherwise. We're very open to this criticism," BBH stated openly.

Dumbfounded doesn’t describe our reaction well enough. If that’s creating jobs for the homeless we wonder where we’re headed next - homeless people as moving touchscreen displays (trivial!), a human chair, or maybe a parade, a homeless human circus? Whatever’s next, we’re sure BBH has a better idea about the future than we do.

source: FWD via Gizmodo



1. tward291

Posts: 559; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

this can only be described as shamefull if you wanna help the homeless there are more humane and better ways of going about this. if you look deep this is a corporation which aims to make profit i doubt little if any will go back to the homeless this i f*cking shamefull

34. 0o0blackstar0o0 unregistered

I'm sure these people wanted to do it their not being forced.. its their own choice ..

39. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

You do have a point.


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Put food in front of a starving dog, and he will eat it! The need for money out shines the moral fiber of how it is obtained, which goes hand in hand with the corporations need for profit

51. PaulNotFromSweden

Posts: 55; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Are you kidding??!!! And I suppose slaves in the 19th century chose to be slaves? After all, it was better than being lynched for trying to flee. Being forced by economic situation or hardship is hardly a "choice". They are being taken advantage of, pure and simple. It's deplorable.

52. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I dont think you can EVEN BEGIN to compare slavery to this. Are these ppl being killed, beaten for saying no or resisting??? They dont have to do this, they can continue to do whatever else they were doing. They can do this and also still go to the unemployment office, apply for public housing (kinda hard without a stable address to receive the papers tho), etc Comparing this to slavery is borderline insane.

47. salic

Posts: 24; Member since: Dec 23, 2011


2. androidoholic

Posts: 6; Member since: Mar 12, 2012

As someone who has been homeless in the past I can absolutely tell you that this is a good thing, in their eyes. It keeps them doing something and may just put some money in their pockets or help them to get off the streets. So I don't see why there is such a problem with all of this. Would anyone have a problem with it if it were college students doing this and not "homeless bums"? I think not.

8. tward291

Posts: 559; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

the college student would get paid more wouldnt he the same way a undocumented worker gets paid less than a registered one doing the same job when your desperate i mean desperate you will do anything if your better off than somebody you should find ways to help them not exploit them

18. hepresearch unregistered

Agreed. Help people, don't exploit them. I really do not see this as a huge exploit, though. The company claims that the proceeds benefit the folks involved, and the people who participate do not necessarily have to do a lot, from the sounds of it. However, I do worry that this could become exploitative if it is not done carefully and with safeguards. As this program goes on, someone needs to account for the amount of good that is done, the amount of profit that is made, and the amount of labor that actually occurs. I would hope that they strike a decent balance as this goes on... otherwise, if it is too heavily leveraged to profit the company and contributes to the homeless far too little, then it ought to be quickly stopped. At this point, I see it as an experiment that could go either way.

21. Gotchafone

Posts: 23; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

Employing the Homeless is definitely going to help them. I don't understand why people expect this company to solve all the problems of the world. This makes sense from a business and humanitarian perspective. Especially since most of the homeless people that are doing this are most likely going to congregate to the areas that have the most people, If you want to solve problems, create real solutions. Don't sit on the sidelines and wag your finger at someone trying to give someone an opportunity. These guys are not being expoited, they have every right to turn these opportunities down.

22. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

How is this exploitation? No one is forcing these people to do this. They are doing it by their own free will. I could understand if they were holding a gun to their head & said you NEED to do this. Exploitation it is not. I understand that some people go homeless because of certain circumstances but other just choose to be homeless or are lazy & rather live that way. If you were homeless & someone offered you this, would you say no? Maybe this is a way to get people out of their funk & finally remember what it’s like to actually get a check. Maybe this will be the stepping stone that gets them out of their depression & back to the productive/working side of the public. Or it can just make being homeless easier, meaning they don’t have to beg for food or money. In other words it’s their CHOICE not exploitation!

26. hepresearch unregistered

But how much choice do you have when you cannot even meet your own needs? I think that is the point others here are trying to get across. So, I agree that these folks are choosing to do this, but I think that their desperate situation increases their likelihood of agreeing to it. Do I like what is going on? No, I do find it demeaning and reprehensible that a person must stoop to the level of being human networking hardware... but what other choice is there? I don't hear of many opportunities for homeless people to be a part of something that gives back a little bit, and rewards them even a little for such a service. It is sad that we have come this far in producing an impoverished population of "second-class citizens", which is the way they are treated even though they are people just like you and me. They need more opportunities. If they accept these opportunities, even if they are humbling and demeaning, then the hand-outs will go farther in helping them, and they will begin to be able to provide for themselves as they learn how to work again. I have hope that this can be used to do good for these folks.

32. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

You know there are more degrading & demeaning things out there that the homeless can be doing or are doing. You have to understand that some people just don't have the ability to function as a productive member in the working class. Some people are mentally disturbed or some people just choose to do this. Some people may be content with this, we will never know people's needs unless we put their shoes on. Yes it's sad that this is happening but in life you have to fight & work through tough times. If we don't work we will be homeless. At least these people are giving the homeless a choice, which is more than most people ever do. Some charities are bogus & some charities do actual good. This can be a good thing for the right person as it can be a very bad thing for the other type of person. The common denominator is that these homeless people are getting a choice & there should not be anything wrong with that! Even productive members of the working class make the wrong choices & do degrading & demeaning things. There could be a girl doing tricks at night after her day job for whatever reason. There could be that very wealthy CEO who buys his drugs after their done with work. We will never know what skeletons are in peoples closets unless we put their shoes on. So we really can't be mad at these people for putting something on the table for the homeless folks out there.

43. Victor.H

Posts: 1062; Member since: May 27, 2011

Wow, never thought I'd need to explain why I think that's wrong, but here we go. First and foremost, it sends the wrong message - that a couple of bucks and food are worth more than human dignity. Why it says that? Because it offers no long term solution to the problem of the homeless, but uses them as a one-time marketing trick. Sure, it might draw attention to the problem of homeless people. They could as well sit on homeless people instead of on a chair - I bet that'd even better marketing. Second, why is it degrading? Because there's no need whatsoever to use people for mobile hotspots. Oh, wait, there is a need - the need of marketing! And yes, college students would be equally degraded if they chose to be a "human hotspot." That would not be smart, but it wouldn't be that shocking because it'd be funny and weird that they chose to do so illogically, without being forced by the circumstances. And yes, I'm aware that most homeless people will be glad to take this money and food because they've already been robbed of (or chose to abandon) their dignity. Going back to slavery days, some people were also happy to get a loaf of bread. Hope that makes my point clearer.

3. PimpStrong

Posts: 310; Member since: Jul 25, 2011

So what do you call the people at Verizon who deliver a temporary mobile 4G station? If this homeless guy had a vehicle then it would be seen as a "legit service" and no one would have a problem with it. There are worse jobs/services...

4. tward291

Posts: 559; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

so ok to take advantage of someone situation the fact that you can attempt to justify this shows how lil we judge the human worth

5. galaxyisking

Posts: 63; Member since: Nov 18, 2011

Wow, this is wrong in so many levels.

6. TKFox007

Posts: 303; Member since: Nov 02, 2010

And you know that many people will be completely ignorant that this is happening as all they'll think is "Ooh, 4G hotspot" and not even know that it's a homeless person.

10. hepresearch unregistered

Is the company at fault for letting these people provide a service to people who don't care about anything but a 4G hotspot, or are we at fault for not bothering to pay attention to how we are getting 4G access in the first place? If you happen to come upon a 4G hotspot, and you actually take the time to look and see where it is coming from (in this case a homeless person), perhaps you will then have an opportunity to thank them for their service and share kind words or encouragement with them. If you care enough, then you have an opportunity in this situation to do good for someone less fortunate than yourself... however, if you could care less, then this really is a benefit to no one at all.

44. Victor.H

Posts: 1062; Member since: May 27, 2011

Why on earth would someone look to see where a 4G hotspot is coming from at SXSW?

7. hepresearch unregistered

Are these people being forced into this human hotspot servitude by BBH, or are these folks choosing to do this? I would say this looks like a conscious choice on the part of the participants... no forced labor here. I would hope they can benefit from it if they are choosing to be a part of this. Is this reprehensible? I would agree that it is demeaning, but if I were homeless (and I almost was on a couple of occassions... I was very lucky and blessed to be able to avoid that, though) I would sure want something to do that was worthwhile and of service to others, especially if I got some benefit, even if a small one, from it. It is like the old saying... "Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and you'll feed him for a lifetime." I would hope, although this is a humbling and demeaning thing to choose to endure, that these folks could use this stumbling-block as a stepping stone to get to a better place in life.

9. tward291

Posts: 559; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

taking advantage of someones desperation is no different than force

12. hepresearch unregistered

So, what are YOU doing to allevaite the desperation of the homeless?

15. tward291

Posts: 559; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

all it takes it an act of kindness i always give whenever i see someone on the side of the road take time to just care i am bless that i didnt lose everything i had when i came back from my deployment for more reasons than you can understand so me and my mother always go out and hand out gift cards and such. couple months ago i met a homeless guy and i knew him i had served with him in afghanistan long story through the grace of god i was able to contact va and now his in a treatment center im always striving to help homeless vet because that could of been me do yourself a favore and do some

24. hepresearch unregistered

Awesome! It is good to see someone being proactive in helping others. And thank you for your service, sir. I would not have liberty today without people like you over the years who have risked all to stand between our loved homes and the war's desolation.

16. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

Taking advantage? "Hey, Joe-Schmo... what are you standing on that street corner for?" -"Well, sir. I stand here at least 12 hours a day begging for change and then I take the $3 and buy a shooter." ~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Hey, Joe-Schmo... what are you standing on that street corner for?" -"Well, sir. I stand here for at least 12 hours a day providing internet for people in the area and a company pays me $xx.yy for my time. Then I take the $xx.yy and buy myself a bottle and a burger." Situation two includes not only a larger quantity of alcohol but also food! No one is taking advantage of anyone. These people are not qualified to hold normal jobs as mentioned above (in most cases)...

23. hepresearch unregistered

Then let's help them get qualified for better jobs... I contribute to charities that my church operates which benefit people here and in other nations. I contribute to the Perpetual Education Fund, a charitable fund which helps people in impoverished nations to get better education through no-interest loans, which they pay back after they are able to obtain a job in their chosen career field, often in their native countries... it is funded by charitable donations of members of the church I attend from around the world, and all loans are eventually repaid, becoming available to fund the next group of prospective students. I also contribute to the church fund that is used for disaster response both in the US and across the world. I also contribute what are called "fast offerings" which I give once a month when we have a special Sunday service in which we skip two meals and give the money we would have spent, or more if we have the means, for the purpose of helping those in our area who have unmet needs. I also participate regularly throughout the year in service projects locally and in nearby states where we feed people who come to us seeking a meal, and at food banks as well. I do other charitable activities and giving as well, but I am sure there are more ways for me to help others than I am currently doing, so I am striving to do more whenever opportunities present themselves. So, I do my best to do my part. Until a person has been "taught how to fish", they still need some "fish" given to them... so hand-outs are a necessity at first, but they are not the entire solution. The government loves to give hand-outs, but very rarely do I see them try to do anything beyond that... so I am a little hopeful to see someone offering people the opportunity to do something, rather than just receive hand-outs. It has to start with little steps somewhere...

25. tward291

Posts: 559; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

that is great what you do makes a difference we all could do more but we can only do what we can do you sir are a good man in your efforts to better your community god bless your cheerful heart

28. hepresearch unregistered

Thank you, sir. I must confess that I have been unable for the past 6 months or so to do much of the charitable giving I had been doing before... between unemployment and my battle with cancer, I have been, well, on the receiving end of the fast offerings on a couple ocassions. I am thankful to have experienced this, though, as it gave me hope in a time when I felt there was none. Now that my health is returning to normal, and I will be seeking employment again shortly, I am looking forward to begin giving again, and I have started doing charitable activities even though I cannot afford to give much money. I have been greatly blessed by the good will of others, especially my parents and my friends at church and locally in the community, and by God, of course. Thank you again for your kind remarks, and may God also be with you, sir.

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