Starbucks Plans To Block Porn From Its Public Wi-Fi By 2019

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Some things seem to go without saying: snow is cold, coffee is hot, don’t watch porn in a Starbucks. It seems some people needed clarification on that last one because Starbucks will start blocking porn on its public Wi-Fi. Starting in 2019, you will no longer be able to pair porn with your Pumpkin Spice Latte, a thing that apparently people were doing.

Technically, Starbucks never allowed people to watch porn on their public Wi-Fi; it’s been banned, per company policy, for a while. However, its Wi-Fi doesn’t currently have content blockers. Meaning, people could, in theory, drink a Unicorn Frappuccino while watching some graphic, unicorn-themed adult content. “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,” a representative for Starbucks told Business Insider.

The company hasn’t given any specific details about the method they’ll be using to block explicit content. Though, Starbucks’ statement did mention that they’d be testing methods to ensure other, non-explicit content wouldn’t be accidentally blocked. Basically, this news will change little for the majority of us who were like, “Yeah. Duh. No porn watching at Starbucks. Got it.”

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This move is following in the footsteps of other fast food chains like McDonald’s, which blocked porn from their public Wi-Fi in 2016. “McDonald's is committed to providing a safe environment for our customers,” a representative for the company told CNN. “We had not heard from our customers that this was an issue, but we saw an opportunity that is consistent with our goal of providing an enjoyable experience for families.”

As a Starbucks rep told The Verge, “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...We have identified a solution to prevent this content from being viewed within our stores and we will begin introducing it to our US locations in 2019.” So, again, Starbucks has never been like, “Welcome to your coffee and porn watching haven. Enjoy the caffeine and did we mention the free Wi-Fi for porn!” But now I am going to start questioning every open laptop, tablet, and iPhone I see at Starbucks. (Yeah, suuure you’re working a screenplay.)

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The effort of officially block porn comes following pressure from lobby groups for Starbucks take greater measures to block porn on their public Wi-Fi. As Business Insider reports, anti-porn group Enough Is Enough (EIE) started a petition a couple years ago for “porn-free Wi-Fi,” specifically calling out Starbucks. The petition, which currently has over 26,000 signatures, was last updated Nov. 20, 2018. “EIE applauds Starbucks corporate responsibility to protect children in its UK stores by filtering its WiFi,” the petition states before asking why the same measures haven’t been taken at the company’s American locations.

“Once we determine that our customers can access our free Wi-Fi in a way that also doesn't involuntarily block unintended content, we will implement this in our stores,” a Starbucks representative told CNN in 2016. It seems they’ve finally determined a way, and 2019 in Starbucks will start out with a porn-free bang. (Pun fully intended.)

Until then, you’ve got a couple months to figure out where to watch your porn, if Starbucks was your inexplicable go-to. May I, perchance, suggest the comfort of your own home? Light some candles. Pick up a latte to-go. Make a whole thing of it. Just maybe don't make a thing of it using a coffee shop's public Wi-Fi.