November 26, 2018

Starbucks Breaks Its Promise To Filter Porn And Child Sex Abuse Images From Its Public Wifi

"Protecting the innocence of children in America is even more precious than green efforts and paper straws."
-Donna Rice Hughes, President & CEO, Enough Is Enough®-

Great Falls, VA – Enough Is Enough® (EIE) is turning up the heat on Starbucks after it failed to follow through on its promise to filter pornography and child sex abuse images from its public WiFi.  Starbucks announced it would voluntarily provide safe WiFi in its restaurants nationwide via a statement to CNN in 2016. This was announced in direct response to EIE's Porn Free WiFi campaign (now called the SAFE WiFi Campaign) in which a coalition of more than 75 partner organizations and 50,000 petitions were sent to the CEO's of both Starbucks and McDonald's requesting that these two industry leaders lead corporate America to voluntarily filter child porn and porn on its public WiFi network. McDonalds responded and within one year, proactively implemented filters in nearly 14,000 stores nationwide.

"Starbucks has had a tremendous opportunity to put its best foot forward in protecting its customers from images deemed obscene and illegal under the law, but they haven't budged, despite their promise two years ago and despite the fact that they voluntarily filter this same content in the UK," said EIE President and CEO Donna Rice Hughes. "By breaking its commitment, Starbucks is keeping the doors wide open for convicted sex offenders and others to fly under the radar from law enforcement and use free, public WiFi services to access illegal child porn and hard-core pornography," Hughes continued. "Having unfiltered hotspots also allows children and teens to easily bypass filters and other parental control tools set up by their parents on their smart phones, tablets and laptops."

Starbucks representative told CNN in 2016: "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." 

Following that statement, EIE launched a national campaign applauding Starbucks for its display of corporate responsibility, thereby joining other national giants such as McDonalds and Chick-fil-A, who already have taken direct measures to protect its patrons from dangerous content. To date, no action has taken place to suggest Starbucks has moved forward with its public commitment. EIE has made repeated attempts to reach out to Starbucks executives by phone, e-mail and certified mail since 2016. Starbucks has remained unresponsive with the exception of a form letter from customer relations. 

With no filtering in place, Starbucks continues to serve up free, unrestricted WiFi to its customers, opening the door for patrons to view graphic or obscene pornography, view or distribute child pornography (an illegal crime) or engage in sexual predation activity. Additionally, filtered WiFi offers businesses like Starbucks the ability to offer secure WiFi access to prevent hackers and identity thieves from invading the privacy of Starbucks patrons.

EIE is once again calling on people nationwide to sign a petition calling on Starbucks to follow through on its commitment to filter. 

"We demand Starbucks do the right thing by keeping its promise of two and half years ago," said Hughes. "We applaud Starbucks' commitment to protect children in its UK stores, but what about America's children? Protecting the innocence of children in America is even more precious than green efforts and paper straws." There's no reason why Starbucks can't offer that same level of commitment of WiFi safety to its loyal customer base here in the United States."

#enoughisenough #safewifi #protectkids