July 14, 2016

247 Wall Street: McDonald’s Blocks Porn Viewing at Its Restaurants

Presumably free public internet access is just that. Sign into Wi-Fi, surf as you would like. McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) has put an important limitation on that freedom. People who use its free Wi-Fi will no longer be able to use it to watch pornography.

Enough Is Enough® (EIE), an internet safety nonprofit, announced a program that in part already has been implemented:

    EIE launched its “National Porn Free Wi-Fi” campaign”  in the fall of 2014, with nearly 50,000 petitions and 75 partner organizations encouraging McDonald’s and Starbucks to lead Corporate America in filtering Wi-Fi. Both companies were early adopters in the U.K., where they voluntarily filtered pornography on their public WiFi networks. McDonald’s responded rapidly and positively to the initial outreach to their CEO by EIE in spring 2014, and began exploring options for WiFi filtering. To date, Starbucks has yet to respond.

    In the first quarter of 2016, McDonald’s began to implement their new filtered WiFi policy in their corporate-owned restaurants in the U.S., and made the same service available to their franchisees.  While McDonald’s wasn’t aware of any pornography related incidents in their stores, their move to offer filtered WiFi is clearly one more major step in the right direction. The bottom line – the majority of McDonald’s restaurants now offer safer WiFi access for their patrons.

The Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) comment is a public prod, obviously.

EIE President Donna Rice Hughes said:

    Parents can have peace of mind that, when they or their children go to McDonald’s, they will have a safer and more friendly WiFi experience, filtered from pornography, from child porn and from potential sexual exploitation and predation McDonald’s deserves widespread praise for this act of corporate responsibility and commitment to children and family safety.

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