McDonald's, Starbucks agree to block porn over free Wi-Fi - 'leading the way for corporate America'

by Michael Foust , Guest Reviewer |

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – McDonald's and Starbucks have agreed to block pornography over their free Wi-Fi, drawing praise from the organization that launched a petition drive in 2014 to get the two companies to make their Internet policies more family-friendly.

McDonald's implemented an Internet filter earlier this year in its corporate-owned stores and made the service available to its franchisees, and Starbucks announced July 15 that it was exploring how to do the same in its stores, according to Enough Is Enough, a non-profit organization that works to make the Internet safer for children and families.

The move impacts the majority of McDonald's stores, the organization said.

"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," said Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough Is Enough. "Pervasive online child pornography, which is the actual sexual abuse of children, is a crime to produce, distribute or download.

"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."

A Starbucks spokesperson said: "We are in the process of evaluating a global protocol to address this in all of our company owned stores, and are in active discussions with organizations on implementing the right, broad-based solution that would remove any illegal and other egregious content. Once we determine that our customers can access our free Wi-Fi in a way that also doesn't involuntarily block unintended content, we will implement this in our stores. 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, as part of our commitment to ensuring that our stores remain a safe and welcoming environment."

Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread already have an Internet filtering policy.