Bad news for creeps: Starbucks says that from next year it’ll begin to block pornographic sites from being accessed via its Wi-Fi.
It seems that the chain was under pressure from a group called Enough Is Enough, which is upset that Starbucks committed to doing something about the problem in 2016 and then didn’t do anything about it.
Enough is Enough, a nonprofit dedicated to Internet safety for children, launched a petition encouraging Starbucks to ban porn. It received more than 26,000 signatures. The group wrote in its petition: “Starbucks is keeping the doors wide open for convicted sex offenders and patrons to fly under the radar from law enforcement and use free, public WiFi services to view or distribute graphic or obscene pornography, child pornography (an illegal crime), or engage in sexual predation activity.”
Enough is Enough insists that not only is the viewing of pornography a problem, but that sexual predators have regarded casual restaurants like Starbucks and McDonald’s as safe havens from where they can view and distribute vile material.
In 2014, the Starbucks WiFi helped the Hillsboro, Ore., police capture a child predator. A registered sex offender was caught downloading child pornography on the Starbucks network there. In 2012, a Sacramento man on the sex offender registry was arrested for viewing child pornography on the Starbucks WiFi.
The pressure group says that McDonald’s and other chains such as Panera reacted quickly to address the danger.
Moreover, it says that Starbucks has successfully managed to implement safe Wi-Fi in the U.K, but not in the U.S.
Donna Rice Hughes, from Enough is Enough said:
While it rarely occurs, the use of Starbucks public Wi-Fi to view illegal or egregious content is not, nor has it ever been permitted. To ensure Starbucks 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 U.S. locations in 2019.
It’s not always simple to block pornographic sites without inadvertently blocking some sites that aren’t quite so explicit. Thin is the line between YouTube and YouPorn.
Starbucks hasn’t declared precisely what tools it might use to make the change. But a Starbucks representative said, “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 U.S. locations in 2019.”
This move, though, is merely another step in the realization that technology’s hurtling through society brought with it unexpected consequences.
Watching porn in public, by the way, not only makes bystanders deeply uncomfortable — which may be why some people do it to begin with — but it’s also considered sexual harassment in certain settings and may result in a disorderly conduct citation.