In 2016 NCOSE and ally organization, Enough is Enough, began working with major franchises, including McDonalds and Starbucks, to filter their Wi-Fi in all US locations. Enough is Enough is a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on making “the Internet Safer for Children and Families.” As allies, we share the common goal of protecting all from the augmenting dangers of internet pornography, sex trafficking, and other affronts to human dignity. So many of these threats have reached their pernicious roots deeper into our society due to the easy access of online materials.
Filtering public WiFi networks is vital to decreasing the use and proliferation of pornographic materials as well as protecting innocent bystanders. Due to the anonymity afforded on a public network, they are often used to view and traffic child pornography. While McDonald’s has now altered its content blocking policy, they previously faced an incidence of this. In 2013, Jeremy Hudler was arrested for child pornography after spending the previous two years using various McDonald’s free WiFi off of a Selma, Alabama Highway to download child pornography, all while regularly sitting near the children’s play area. Cases like this are not solitary events and reinforce the need for filtered internet.
The expansion of the internet has fostered the largest haven of child pornography and trafficking in history. From 2004 to 2015 the number of files on child sexual abuse reviewed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children increased by approximately 24.5 million. This exponential growth is in direct correlation to the spread of child pornography online. The internet is a common format for abusers to get in contact with children; one study found “42% of sextortion victims met their perpetrators online.” The same research revealed that the internet is the main source of advertising child sex trafficking victims (63%). Public WiFi networks foster these communities and reduce the ability to track offenders.
Enough is Enough has continued this push for content blockers and has recently gotten a confirmation that Starbucks will be filtering out pornography on all of their WiFi networks in 2019. This confirmation is an exciting victory towards decreasing pornography viewership and trafficking within public spaces. We congratulate Starbucks in joining us in the fight against exploitation. Installation of these content blockers are an important step in eliminating access to and demand for offensive materials. We also congratulate our allies Enough is Enough on this triumph as they have tirelessly utilized social media campaigns, including the hashtags #SafeWiFi and #[email protected], to channel momentum.
Major corporations altering policies are vital to changing the statistics on exploitation however, this comes down to the work of dedicated individuals. If you would like to join the fight against online dangers go to our get involved tab and see how you can begin!