Porn-Free Zone: McDonald’s Adopts ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ to Protect Patrons from Smut

By Emily Blatter | July 20, 2016 | 10:36 AM EDT

(AP photo)

(CNSNews.com)-- McDonald’s has recently started filtering the free Wi-Fi the company provides at most of its U.S. locations to protect patrons from pornography, sexual predation and cyberbullying.

“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,” McDonald’s global communications representative Terri Hickey said in an email to CNSNews.com.

The fast-food restaurant chain made the move in response to a 2014 campaign by Enough Is Enough (EIE), a non-partisan, non-profit organization founded in 1994 that is committed to Internet safety for children and families.

Starbucks soon followed suit, announcing Friday that the company is investigating similar Wi-Fi filtering options.

(AP photo)

"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,” a Starbucks spokesperson said Wednesday in an email to CNSNews.

“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,” the spokesperson added.

Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, called filtering public Wi-Fi a “necessity” in a statement commending McDonald’s new policy.

“Pornography is linked to decreased brain matter, compulsive use disorders, and sexual aggression. In light of the technical capabilities, it has become socially irresponsible for any corporation, public library, or public school to leave its Wi-Fi unfiltered,” she said.

EIE President Donna Rice Hughes agreed, calling pornography a “public health crisis.”

"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. We commend both Starbucks and McDonald's for leading the way for corporate America to provide safer Wi-Fi,” Hughes said in a statement released July 15.

Hughes celebrated the group’s recent victories at McDonald’s and Starbucks, but she added that the fight for a clean Internet is far from over.

“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 publicly available Wi-Fi in order to protect children and families," she said.

Emily Blatter
Emily Blatter
Emily Blatter

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