wifi hotspot(1) Marketing firm causes outrage over using homeless as wireless hotspots

A marketing firm has caused controversy over the hiring of homeless people to carry mobile Wi-Fi devices at an internet conference in return for small donations.

A marketing firm has caused controversy over the hiring of homeless people to carry mobile Wi-Fi devices at an internet conference in return for small donations.

 
BBH Labs gave 13 volunteers from a homeless shelter Wi-Fi devices, business cards, and a t-shirt bearing their name and a message, such as: “I'm Clarence, a 4G Hotspot.”
 
The volunteers got $20 a day for their work and were allowed to keep any donations made by those who attended the conference. BBH Labs called its Homeless Hotspots project a “charitable experiment,” but with such paltry payments and the objectification of fellow human beings it is not surprising that some were dismayed by the idea.
 
Some onlookers labelled the marketing move as “exploitive,” with one person describing it as something from a “darkly satirical science-fiction dystopia.” Others pointed to the huge divide between the haves and have-nots at the events, with many touting their expensive devices and connecting to the free Wi-Fi offered by the homeless volunteers.
 
clarencejones homeless Marketing firm causes outrage over using homeless as wireless hotspots
 
The phrasing on the t-shirts alone drew considerable criticism, as it made the homeless people into objects, like a piece of furniture or an electronic device that can be cast aside.
 
Some saw humour in the event, joking that their Wi-Fi hotspots kept wandering out of range of their devices, thus ruining their trades.
 
Others thought the idea was ingenious, as it raised questions about how we treat homeless people. One person highlighted how it made them question their feelings about those living in shelters or on the streets. 
 
Many of the volunteers themselves had no problems with the project either, with one calling it “an honest day of work and pay.”
 
Source and Image Credit: New York Times