Starbucks blocks access to porn websites from 2019

Global coffee chain Starbucks has promised it is to block access to porn websites on its free in-store Wi-Fi.

Speaking to NBC News, a Starbucks spokesperson condemned the “egregious content”, and said the company has “identified a solution” to the apparent problem of users enjoying raunchy content with their coffee. While accessing pornographic material isn’t allowed in store anyway, from 2019 free Wi-Fi users won’t be able to visit porn websites at all.

The ban is the result of a campaign by Enough is Enough, a US non-profit with the goal of making “the internet safer for children and families,” a vision which has manifested into asking organisations to remove access to porn on free Wi-Fi.

Enough is Enough spearheaded a petition to pressure Starbucks to implement the ban, which amassed over 27,000 signatories. In 2016 McDonald’s announced it was to block porn on free Wi-Fi, and while Starbucks agreed at the time, it reneged on this promise until now.

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Curiously, the global coffee chain specified the block would only affect US shops, so coffee shops in the UK will still allow access to these sites.

While this is a good PR move, the announcement has left many confused as to the scale of the supposed problem. On Twitter the move has been widely mocha’d, with many pointing out how unnecessary it is.

Porn websites haven’t taken the issue standing either,  with YouPorn banning Starbucks coffees from its office. As workers drinking coffee is likely a more frequent occurrence than Starbucks Wi-Fi being used for shameful content, it seems this (tongue-in-cheek) ban will have a greater effect than Starbucks’ initial effort.

While its necessity remains dubious, Starbucks’ porn ban is sure sign of its commitment to making its stores friendly for families and children. Now people using the free Wi-Fi for dubious reasons will be on the espresso train out of there.

Image: Adrianna Calvo

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