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Starbucks plans to add content filters to its in-store Wi-Fi

The move, which follows years of activist pressure, will take effect next year.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Starbucks this week said it would roll out a new tool to prevent customers from streaming pornography or other explicit material over its in-store Wi-Fi.

The move, first reported by Business Insider, follows years of pressure from consumers as well as a recent movement that generated more than 25,000 signatures on a petition to urge the coffee chain to install content filters on its Wi-Fi.  

“While it rarely occurs, the use of Starbucks public Wi-Fi to view illegal or egregious content is not, nor has it ever been permitted,” a Starbucks spokesman said in a statement to Restaurant Business. “To ensure the Third Place remains safe and welcoming to all, we have identified a solution to prevent this content from being viewed within our stores and we will begin introducing it to our U.S. locations in 2019.”

Starbucks did not elaborate on the solution.

Internet safety group Enough Is Enough, the organization behind the recent petition, called on Starbucks as early as 2014 to install content blockers for its Wi-Fi. Other large chains, such as McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A, implemented the filters several years ago and, Enough Is Enough noted in its petition, Starbucks has Wi-Fi filters at all of its units in the United Kingdom.

Starbucks committed in 2016 to adding Wi-Fi content blockers.

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