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Starbucks to Block Porn Access on Store Wifi in 2019

Starbucks to Block Porn Access on Store Wifi in 2019

Starbucks has announced it will officially put an end to customers streaming pornography on its wifi starting in 2019.

Although the viewing of porn on the coffee giant’s wifi has always been a violation of the company’s policy and “rarely occurs,” it has not implemented blocking technology until now.

“While it rarely occurs, the use of Starbucks public wifi to view illegal or egregious content is not, nor has it ever been permitted,” a Starbucks spokesperson told The Independent. “To ensure the Third Place remains safe and welcoming to all, we have identified a solution to prevent this content from being viewed within our stores and we will begin introducing it to our US locations in 2019.”

The company’s announcement comes after increasing pressure from internet safety advocacy group Enough is Enough, which recently created a petition calling for Starbucks to filter explicit sites.

The petition, created two years after Starbucks originally announced it would put an end to the ability to access porn on its store wifi, received more than 26,000 signatures.

Enough is Enough CEO Donna Rice Hughes also issued a statement attacking the company for not following through on its 2016 commitment and for putting its customers at risk.

“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,” Hughes said earlier this week.

In 2016, following similar pressure from the advocacy group, McDonald’s implemented blocking technology.

At the time, Starbucks said it would block the content on its wifi once the company was able to to do so without blocking unintended sites.

Although the company did not say what technology it eventually settled on, it did say it had tested multiple methods.

In the UK, Starbucks already has filters in place in stores in partnership with Friendly Wifi, a government-initiated safe certification standard for public wifi, the company told us.