Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

I go to Starbucks most mornings and confess I look around at the people I see there.

Most seem like people just trying to get through another day as best they can.

A few look like they could be questionable characters, but they likely think the same of me. (And they're right.)

Mostly, though, the atmosphere is serene.

Which is why I'm a touch chastened by a step Starbucks has just announced.

As Business Insider reports, the chain is taking action against those who avail themselves of the free Wi-Fi and sit watching questionable material.

By questionable I am, of course, suggesting the questionably pornographic.

Starbucks says that from next year it'll begin to block pornographic sites from being accessed via its Wi-Fi.

It seems that the chain was under pressure from a group called Enough Is Enough, which is upset that Starbucks committed to doing something about the problem in 2016 and then didn't do anything about it.

Enough is Enough insists that not only is the viewing of pornography a problem, but that sexual predators have regarded casual restaurants like Starbucks and McDonald's as safe havens from where they can view and distribute vile material.

The pressure group says that McDonald's and other chains such as Panera reacted quickly to address the danger.

Moreover, it says that Starbucks has successfully managed to implement safe Wi-Fi in the U.K, but not in the U.S.

I contacted Starbucks to ask how big a problem this is. A spokeswoman told me:

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. To ensure Starbucks 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.

It's not always simple to block pornographic sites without inadvertently blocking some sites that aren't quite so explicit. Thin is the line between YouTube and YouPorn.

Starbucks hasn't declared precisely what tools it might use to make the change. 

This move, though, is merely another step in the realization that technology's hurtling through society brought with it unexpected consequences.

The law moves too slowly. Too many happily took advantage and some people did get hurt.

The reckoning is now here and every business must reckon with it. 

Published on: Nov 29, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.