Starbucks to Block Public Wi-Fi Porn in 2019

The coffee company promised to look into content filtering for its US locations back in 2016, but nothing has happened yet. Now a petition with over 26,000 signatures seems to have spurred Starbucks into action.
Starbucks to Block Public Wi-Fi Porn in 2019
Image credit: Adrianna Calvo | Pexels via PC Mag

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Senior Editor
2 min read
This story originally appeared on PCMag

If you enjoy watching porn over a free Wi-Fi connection while sipping on a cappuccino or latte, then Starbucks isn't the place for you for much longer. Beginning at some point in 2019, porn will be blocked on Starbucks' public Wi-Fi across all its U.S. locations.

If you walk into a Starbucks today, there's no content filtering used when accessing the internet using the coffee company's free coffee house Wi-Fi. Starbucks actually promised to stop porn being accessible in this way back in 2016, but the blocking of explicit content has yet to happen. The delay hasn't been explained, but is likely due to Starbucks wanting a solution that guarantees not to block any other types of content.

As Business Insider reports, Starbucks recently finished testing a range of tools that potentially solved the problem and finally decided on one. We don't know what that tool is and Starbucks isn't forthcoming with details, but porn filtering will be introduced "to our U.S. locations in 2019."

The wording suggests that content filtering could be a slow roll out as Starbucks tests how well it performs in real store settings. By only stating 2019 as the date it also gives the company a full year to deliver on its promise.

This announcement by Starbucks follows a petition that appeared on the CitizenGo website created by the anti-pornography nonprofit organization Enough Is Enough. The petition is titled "Starbucks Breaks Promise to Filter Porn & Child Sex Abuse Images from Its Public WiFi" and so far has been signed by 26,721 people. The goal is to reach at least 50,000 signatures.

Banning porn from any public location is always going to be difficult. Content filtering certainly helps, but then an increasing number of people have a VPN running on their device which can render such filters useless. In 2019, if someone is determined to watch porn with their coffee, they will find a way regardless of what content blocking is in place. When that happens, it's up to staff to ask them to leave.

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