July 21, 2016

To Filter Public WiFi, Or Not? Starbucks and the Librarian of Congress Weigh In

As the Republican National Committee moves to recognize pornography as a public health crisis, high profile corporations and individuals are distancing themselves from pornography. 

McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Dr. Carla Hayden—the newly confirmed Librarian of Congress—have noted the necessity of filtering pornography out of public WiFi in public statements.

A McDonald’s spokesperson stated:

“McDonald’s is committed to providing a safe environment for our customers. 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.”

After McDonald’s announced its new filtering policy,Starbucks made a public statement that it is actively evaluating a policy on filtering pornography in all Starbucks company owned stores across the globe. While the corporation has yet to formally commit to filtering pornography from its public WiFi we hope it will since it is in the best interest of consumer safety and comfort.

It is especially striking that Dr. Hayden has made comments in favor of filtering, because during her time at the American Library Association, she was opposed to it. In fact, the American Library Association is on the 2016 Dirty Dozen List for its consistent opposition to protecting children from exposure to pornography in public libraries despite the fact that the Supreme Court has upheld Internet filtering as constitutional.

Dr. Hayden stated that her support of the ALA’s position was based on outdated information on the accuracy of filtering and that she now supports online filtering in libraries, and she does not support pornography in “any shape or form.”

We wholeheartedly agree with this statement, and we are calling on the American Library Association to amend its policies on Internet filtering as well.

You can sign our petition to the ALA here.

Further Reading