Pressure has been mounting recently on corporations in America to block pornography on WiFi networks open to the public. McDonalds and Starbucks have responded by announcing they will be blocking porn on public WiFi networks in their restaurants and coffee shops.
Early last week, McDonalds announced that it is now using WiFi network web filtering to block pornography – and child pornography – in its 14,000+ restaurants in the United States. The technology had been introduced earlier this year, although the move has only just been announced by the fast food chain. McDonalds is one of the first – and largest – organizations to block pornography on restaurant WiFi networks.
A couple of days later, Starbucks announced that that the company will also be using WiFi network web filtering to block pornography in its coffee shops in the United States. Starbucks will be evaluating web filtering solutions to block pornography in order to ensure the implementation of a web filter does prevent customers accessing non-pornographic websites. Once that process has been completed, the web filtering solution will be rolled out across its 12,200+ U.S. coffee shops followed by its company-owned stores around the world.
While no figures have been released by either organization about the extent to which their WiFi networks are being used to view pornography, online safety organizations have been warning corporate America that the practice is becoming more prevalent and the risk to minors is considerable if efforts are not made to block pornography on restaurant WiFi networks.
Pressure by Anti-Pornography Organizations to Block Pornography on WiFi Networks Pays Off
Internet safety organization Enough is Enough launched its National Porn Free Wi-Fi campaign two years ago and has been placing pressure on corporate America to use WiFi network web filtering to block pornography and prevent access to illegal child pornography on restaurant WiFi networks.
Public WiFi networks offer a higher degree of anonymity than home and work Internet connections, and an increasing number of individuals are actively seeking unfiltered WiFi networks to view, download, and share inappropriate and illegal images.
Enough is Enough – whose mission is to make the Internet safer for children and families – gathered over 50,000 signatures from members of the public and has the backing of more than 75 partner organizations. Over the past few months, pressure has been placed on Starbucks – the largest coffee shop chain in the United States – to block pornography on WiFi networks and to prevent inappropriate material from being accidentally or deliberately viewed by minors.
Many smaller restaurant chains have already taken the decision to block pornography on WiFi networks that are provided for customers. Panera Bread and Chick-fil-A have been using WiFi network web filtering to block pornography and keep customers safe for a number of years, yet the larger chains have only just been convinced that it is important to block pornography on restaurant WiFi networks.
Donna Rice Hughes, President of Enough Is Enough, praised Starbucks and McDonalds for implementing a WiFi filtering solution to restrict access to pornography. She said “We will vigorously continue to encourage other businesses and venues such as hotels, airlines, shopping malls, and libraries to filter pornography and child abuse images on publicly available Wi-Fi in order to protect children and families.”