December 22, 2014

Starbucks, McDonald's filter coffee, but not WiFi


Starbucks, McDonald's filter coffee, but not WiFi

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Michael F. Haverluck   ( Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Refusing to entertain the pleas of some 25,000 pro-family advocates urging them to filter the free WiFi offered to their customers, Starbucks and McDonald's have decided to let patrons of their world-famous coffee and fast food consume Internet porn along with their favorite brew and burgers.


Spearheaded by the Internet safety organization Enough is Enough (EIE), the "Porn-Free WiFi" campaign called on two of America's favorite franchises to install Internet filters so that their untold millions of customers will no longer be able to access or circulate child and adult pornography through the Internet connections they offer inside their U.S.-based eateries.


A primary motivator behind the recent push stems from numerous reports of sexual predators and other criminals using the chains' freely accessible WiFi hotspots to solicit children for sexual activity, as well as for child porn trafficking.


'The 'Porn-free WiFi' campaign is not just about protecting our children from viewing hard-core pornography using public hotspots - it's also about limiting the safe-haven that open WiFi creates for sexual predators,' EIE CEO Donna Rice Hughes announced.


Hooray for the U.K.


Even though such protections aren't offered in their U.S. chains, both Starbucks and McDonald's have employed such Internet safeguards throughout their franchises in the United Kingdom. Commending the move, EIE issued letters to both international corporations as an incentive and reminder that similar filters need to be installed in their U.S. stores as well.


Possibly spurred by the introduction of child protective policies launched by U.K Prime Minister David Cameron last year, Starbucks and McDonald's were eager to join the movement and help eradicate abuses taking place online due to graphic and exploitive content. One of the mechanisms used to battle the Internet pornography and solicitation problem was the newly introduced "opt-out" default setting that was made available to all Internet service providers across Great Britain.


Today, restaurants throughout the U.K. that offer free Internet with explicit content filters can be identified with colorful banners distinguishing them as such. Starbucks was proud to be on board with the industry-wide move in Great Britain earlier this year, touting its participation in the "Friendly WiFi" filtering program. McDonald's proclaimed itself as an industry leader in Britain's protective movement, proclaiming itself to be the first company in the U.K. to be a participating member in the family-friendly WiFi-filtering campaign, known as Mumsnet.


In America, do as the British do


Encouraging Starbucks and McDonald's to follow suit with their family-friendly policies abroad, Hughes called upon both to show the same concern for their outfits in their native country.


Hughes also put on the pressure by stressing how major family-friendly fast-food chains such as the Christian-owned Chic-fil-A, as well as Panera Bread, have voluntarily installed free filtered WiFi for their customers.


Despite EIE's pleading with the two companies that have more than 25,000 outlets nationwide, it has yet to receive confirmation from either that they are moving forward to offer filtered WiFi. In fact, the last promising correspondence EIE's Hughes received was in April from McDonald's.


'We appreciate your concern and are looking into options for effective filtering in the U.S.,' a representative from the burger giant wrote back to Hughes earlier this year." Read full article here.