The Industry

Starbucks Will Block Porn on Its Public Wi-Fi

Starbucks initially promised to implement the filters in 2016.
Starbucks initially promised to implement the filters in 2016.
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Starbucks will implement a tool next year that will block customers from viewing explicit content like pornography with the stores’ Wi-Fi, Business Insider reports. Customers are technically already banned from watching porn at Starbucks, but the chain has never used online filters to stop people from doing so.

Starbucks initially pledged to implement porn-filtering technology in 2016, though the coffee company said at the time that it was still looking for the right tool that wouldn’t inadvertently block non-explicit content. The internet safety group Enough Is Enough called out Starbucks earlier this week for failing to follow up on its promise and started an online petition urging the company to start using content filters, which has amassed more than 26,000 signatures. Starbucks subsequently disclosed that it had been testing multiple tools and eventually settled on one that it believes will be discriminate in its blocking.

It’s unclear just how big this pornography problem is for Starbucks. There have been anecdotal reports of employees having to ask customers to refrain from viewing explicit materials. There was also a case in 2014 in which a registered sex offender had been using the free internet at a Starbucks in Oregon to download child pornography.

Other food service chains of Starbucks’ scale have already had porn filters for their in-store Wi-Fi for years. McDonald’s began blocking porn in 2016 at the insistence of Enough Is Enough, and chains like Panera Bread and Chick-Fil-A had implemented filters even earlier.