US

Bad news for creeps:' Starbucks to roll out porn blocker on its free WiFi starting in January

Customers are shown near the Starbucks logo in this file photo. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Washington Post accurately called it “bad news for creeps.”

Starting in January, Starbucks will have a content blocker that bars people from accessing pornographic sites over its free in-store WiFi. Starbucks banned viewing such sites in its stores in 2016, but lacked a way to enforce the policy.

What is the background?

“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,” a Starbucks spokesman told Business Insider. The company did not elaborated on how the content blocker works.

"Third Place" refers to Starbucks' policy of creating an environment of mutual respect and responsible behavior.

The group Enough is Enough, a nonprofit dedicated to Internet safety for children, led an effort to encourage Starbucks to ban porn. The group started a petition that received more than 26,000 signatures, according to the Washington Post.

The petition stated: “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.”

Porn is viewed as a form of human trafficking by some activists because its participants cannot revoke images that are consumed over and over on websites that profit from them. Lewd content is also considered a form of sexual harassment in business settings and it can lead to lawsuits.

Starbucks in 2014 assisted police with catching a child predator in Hillsboro, Oregon. It happened after a registered sex offender was caught downloading child pornography on Starbucks' network. In 2012, a Sacramento man who was listed on the sex offender registry was arrested for viewing child pornography via Starbucks WiFi.

Pornography filters are already in place in Starbucks in England, the Washington Post reported. McDonald’s had similar filters in place in 2016. Other chains that filter such content on free WiFi include Chick-fil-A, Subway and Panera Bread.

Anything else?

In response to Starbucks’ announcement, porn peddler YouPorn has announced it is banning Starbucks products in its offices.

“In light of the news that Starbucks has blocked customers from searching and viewing adult content within their establishments, Starbucks products will officially be banned from the YouPorn offices,” YouPorn vice president Charlie Hughes reportedly wrote in a company-wide memo.

One last thing…
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