Why Starbucks And McDonald’s Are Blocking Porn From Their WiFi

starbucks mcdonalds wifi
Two of the largest chain restaurants with free WiFi in the United States, McDonald’s and Starbucks, are adding pornography filters to their internet.


Following the campaign of anti-porn group Enough is Enough and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, McDonald’s has added internet filters to its public WiFi throughout the country, a change that was announced last week.


“McDonald’s is committed to providing a safe environment for our customers, and we are pleased to share that Wi-Fi filtering has been activated in the majority of McDonald’s nearly 14,000 restaurants nationwide,” a spokesperson for the fast food restaurant said in a statement.


“We had not heard from our customers that this was an issue, but we saw an opportunity that is consistent with our goal of providing an enjoyable experience for families.”
McDonald’s and Starbucks had already implemented pornography filtering at its locations in the U.K. Smaller chains like Panera and Chik Fil A already provide pornography filtering in the U.S.


Enough is Enough and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation have appealed to Starbucks to follow McDonald’s lead. On Friday, Starbucks said it plans to implement filtering in its stores throughout the world, once they are sure that the filtering doesn’t unintentionally block additional content.


“In the meantime, we reserve the right to stop any behavior that interferes with our customer experience, including what is accessed on our free Wi-Fi,” a Starbucks spokesperson told CNNMoney.


Enough is Enough (EIE) is a non-profit with the goal of making the “internet safer for children and families” by seeking to block illegal pornography and to stop the sexual exploitation of children through the internet. In 2014, EIE launched its “National Porn Free Wi-Fi” campaign” encouraging McDonald’s and Starbucks to lead Corporate America in filtering Wi-Fi.


In two consecutive statements following the announcements of the filtering by both chains, Donna Rice Hughes, president of EIE, praised both McDonald’s and Starbucks for recognizing pornography as a public health crisis and as a threat to children’s safety.


“Internet safety is now the fourth top-ranked health issue for U.S. children with peer- reviewed research confirming Internet pornography as a public health crisis. Pervasive online child pornography, which is the actual sexual abuse of children, is a crime to produce, distribute or download,” Hughes said.


“We commend both Starbucks and McDonalds for leading the way for corporate America to provide safer Wi-Fi. 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 publically available Wi-Fi in order to protect children and families.”


Fight the New Drug, an organization dedicated to education on pornography’s effects on the brain and society, also praised McDonald’s filtering in a blog post.
“The Golden Arches restaurant has 99 billion served when it comes to hamburgers, and now hopefully it will be reaching another number when it comes to porn accessed in its restaurants: zero.”


The changes come at a time of increasing awareness about the harmful effects of pornography. Last fall, Hyatt Hotels cut off access to on-demand video pornography in all of their hotel rooms across the globe. In March, the Utah legislature declared pornography a public health hazard and TIME Magazine extensively covered pornography addiction. In April, Australian bishops said exposing children to pornography amounted to abuse. The Republican Party is also expected to declare pornography a public health crisis at its convention this week.