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Starbucks is fixing its public WiFi porn problem

The company is now vowing to block explicit imagery after promising to do it in 2016.
Saqib Shah, @eightiethmnt
November 29, 2018
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Starbucks says it will stop people from viewing explicit imagery over its public WiFi hotspots inside stores following years of pressure from anti-pornography group, Enough is Enough. The organization -- which has already pressured McDonald's and Chick Fil-A to do the same -- forced Starbucks to take action after an online petition amassed over 26,000 signatures.

"Apparently, Starbucks cares more about providing paper straws to protect the environment than protecting kids and patrons on its public WiFi!" the CitizenGo petition states. "Starbucks broke its promise to filter pornography and child sex abuse images, despite its public announcement it would voluntarily provide safe WiFi in its restaurants nationwide...an announcement more than 2 and-a-half years ago!"

It's true: Starbucks did tell CNN back in 2016 that it would implement porn-blocking filters at its stores around the world, but they're still amiss. Earlier this week, Enough is Enough CEO Donna Rice Hughes blasted it for not following through on its pledge. "By breaking its commitment, Starbucks is keeping the doors wide open for convicted sex offenders and others to fly under the radar from law enforcement and use free, public WiFi services to access illegal child porn and hard-core pornography," said Hughes.

Now a Starbucks spokesperson tells Business Insider that a "solution" will be introduced to its US stores in 2019. The decision has been praised by Hughes. There are, however, no figures on how many people actually view porn over Starbucks' public WiFi hotspots, nor has the company confirmed whether the filters will be enforced overseas.

It's important to note that Starbucks doesn't allow anyone to view pornography at its stores. The company said in a statement to The Verge: "the use of Starbucks public WiFi to view illegal or egregious content is not, nor has it ever been permitted."


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