WIFI 4 Life, a charity project started in Prague, Czech Republic, set up a pretty bizarre goal to give the city's homeless people wireless hotspots. "What on earth..." you must be thinking.
Well, let us explain.
Their idea is simple: They want to give Prague's homeless people pocket Wi-Fi hotspots — along with food, clean clothes, and a daily allowance — which would give passersby and tourists free access to the Internet.
"Our plan is to resocialize these [homeless] people," one of the guys behind the project explains in a video.
"I came up with the idea during my studies in Vancouver, Canada," Luboš Boleček, the project's chairman, told A Plus in an email. "I got lost and didn't have a mobile data plan to find my way. I saw a homeless [man] sitting on the street, and said to myself, 'If I were on the street, I would get a mobile Wi-Fi router and share the Internet with people in need.' It could be the way to help people, and get some extra coins."
"It can be useful for you, and it will help them to start a normal life again."
WIFI 4 Life is not the first attempt to equip homeless people with Wi-Fi hotspots, however. Marketing agency BBH Labs proposed a similar initiative back in 2012 at the South by Southwest technology conference in Austin, Texas.
A New York Times article explains BBH Labs received much criticism for the controversial idea, as many believe turning people into Wi-Fi hotspots is both disrespectful and exploitative.
The article also highlights the comments of Tim Carmody, a blogger at Wired, who described the project as "completely problematic" and sounding like "something out of a darkly satirical science-fiction dystopia."
The director of innovation at BBH Labs, Saneel Radia, countered that the project is meant to help homeless people be entrepreneurial — in the same way selling newspapers on the street helps them provide a service to the public.
Likewise, the people behind WIFI 4 Life believe giving homeless people pocket Wi-Fi hotspots is providing them with helpful employment opportunities. Their Idiegogo page states the charity will compensate the homeless person for their services.
In the video below, WIFI 4 Life describes their plan in more detail:
We want to know what you guys think. Let us know in the comment section.