March 17, 2015

PRESS RELEASE - OVER 46,500 AMERICANS AND 75 PARTNERING ORGANIZATIONS JOIN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH IN SENDING URGENT PETITIONS
 

Enough Is Enough® P*rn Free Wifi Campaign calls on Mcdonald’s and Starbucks to offer Safe WiFi: Over 46,500 Americans and 75 Partnering Organizations join Enough Is Enough® in sending Urgent Petition

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: GREAT FALLS, Virginia, March 17, 2015 –Enough Is Enough®® (EIE) delivered over 46,500 petition signatures to the CEOs of Starbucks and McDonald’s, urging the companies to filter both child p*rnography and p*rnography on their public WiFi services. A total of 75 partnering organizations representing millions of Americans have also joined EIE’s National P*rn Free WiFi™ Campaign.

Unfiltered Internet access leads to the unintended consequences of open access to hard-core p*rnography, child p*rnography, and possibly child exploitation, and sexual predation. The petition states, in part:

Whereas: Open WiFi Hotspots-like those at McDonald’s and Starbucks- are being used to access p*rnography and child p*rnography in plain view of the general public, including minor children;

Whereas: Federal officials warn that open WiFi hotspots- like those at McDonalds and Starbucks-create criminal safe havens for sexual predators to operate with anonymity.

“It’s time Starbucks and McDonald’s filter their public WiFi services and not just their coffee. These two corporate giants understand the importance of protecting children online since they led the way to pro-actively filter their WiFi services in the United Kingdom under an industry-wide self-regulation initiative. Now, millions of Americans have joined us in requesting that these companies offer American children the same level of protection as they do for children overseas,” said Donna Rice Hughes, President of EIE. “We believe that as industry leaders who set standards for other companies, McDonald’s and Starbucks have a unique opportunity to lead corporate America to be part of the solution by offering safe “p*rn free WiFi” environments and to take a stand against Internet p*rnography that is damaging children.”

Recent peer-reviewed research shows that the extreme nature of Internet p*rnography is having a destructive impact on the mental, emotional and sexual health of adolescents, including addictive and even criminal behavior. The research also reveals that online p*rnography fuels the sexual exploitation of children, violence against women, sex trafficking, addiction and the breakdown of marriage. Additionally, public WiFi services are increasingly being used to traffic child p*rnography and the sexual solicitation of children. On December 29, 2014, USA Today reported the arrest of a registered sex offender while he was allegedly downloading child p*rnography at a Hillsboro, Washington Starbucks. (USA Today News Story, December 29, 2014).

Filtering Internet content at restaurant hot spots is not unprecedented in the United States. Companies such as Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread have been voluntarily filtering p*rnography, child p*rnography and other inappropriate content on their Wi-Fi networks for years.

“P*rn Free WiFi is a win-win for families and the companies’ respective brands. It's not about censorship; it’s about corporate responsibility and good corporate citizenship – and most importantly, about safety for all patrons,” Hughes added. Enough Is Enough®® initially contacted the CEO’s of McDonald’s and Starbucks by certified letter in April 2014 applauding their efforts in the U.K. and encouraging action in the U.S. 

The petitions, delivered before Starbucks’ annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, were accompanied by a detailed follow-up letter to the companies’ respective CEO’s and Boards of Directors stating in part that a safe, friendly Wi-Fi policy and effective filtering in U.S. stores will:

  • Prevent children, teens and other patrons from being exposed to p*rnography and child p*rnography when using WiFi services;
  • Prevent children and teens from easily bypassing filters and other parental control tools set up by their parents on their smart phones, tablets and laptops by logging onto open hotspots;
  • Prevent sexual predators from accessing illegal child p*rnography and flying under the radar of law enforcement by using public WiFi services;
  • Avoid a potential hostile work environment for restaurant/cafe employees;
  • Reinforce a hard-earned and well deserved family-friendly corporate brand;
  • Establish McDonald’s and Starbucks as leaders of WiFi safety policies and effective filtering in the U.S. as in the UK; and
  • Maintain consistency regarding corporate best practices and family-friendly policies.

Some of the key organizations that have joined EIE’s National Porn Free Campaign representing Internet safety, anti-trafficking, anti-p*rnography and child sex abuse prevention and family groups, include: The National Children’s Advocacy Center, The Salvation Army, The Home School Legal Defense Association, The Family Research Council, The American Family Association, Focus on the Family’s Citizens Link, Parents’ Television Council, The Center for Family & Human Rights, and Concerned Women for America.

More information can be found at www.friendlywifi.org, or via Twitter using the following hashtags: #pornfreewifi; #friendlywifi.


About Enough Is Enough®

Enough Is Enough®® (EIE) is a national non-profit organization who has led the fight to make the Internet safer for children and families since 1994.  EIE's efforts are focused on combatting Internet p*rnography, child p*rnography, sexual predation and cyberbullying by incorporating a three-pronged prevention strategy with shared responsibilities between the public, the technology industry, and the legal community. EIE stands for freedom of speech as defined by the Constitution of the United States; for a culture where all people are respected and valued; for a childhood with a protected period of innocence; for healthy sexuality; and for a society free from sexual exploitation. 
www.enough.orgwww.internetsafety101.orgwww.friendlyfreewifi.org