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Cruel pranksters made NYC internet kiosks play ice cream truck tunes

It's deliciously evil.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 3, 2018
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John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New York City is in the midst of a heatwave, and some pranksters are taking advantage of technology to twist the knife a little more. LinkNYC has confirmed to Motherboard that someone is making its internet kiosks play ice cream truck music, taunting hapless New Yorkers looking for a cold treat on a hot day. It's incredibly cruel (or wonderfuly clever, if you're the mischievous sort), but there's no hacking involved. The perpetrators phone a kiosk, play the mouthwatering tunes from their phone, and switch to the kiosk's home screen to hide that there's a call in progress.

There aren't any known suspects, but whoever it is may have accomplices. The pranks have lasted for hours at a time, but kiosks automatically end calls after 10 minutes if you don't confirm that you're present. In other words, someone nearby may be keeping the calls alive by surreptitiously confirming that non-existent presence and walking off.

It's not certain what LinkNYC or the city can do, especially when the heat is expected to break (if only just) within a few days. It's entirely likely that the culprits will get away with their dessert-themed devilry, and LinkNYC can't guarantee that every caller is on the up-and-up. For now, you'll just have to be wary about chasing down treats in the Big Apple -- you might want to order from the comfort of home instead.

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