After two years of pressure, McDonald's announced that it has started to filter its public Wi-Fi networks in the U.S. to block customers from accessing pornographic websites at its outlets, the company announced late last week.

McDonald's had already been censoring its Wi-Fi networks in the U.K., but the company added explicit-content filtering technology to most of its 14,000 U.S. restaurants earlier this year. Anti-porn advocacy group Enough Is Enough, which was started in 1992 by Donna Rice Hughes to "make the internet safer for children and families," has been campaigning chain restaurants to censor public Wi-Fi access since 2014. After mounting pressure, EIE got McDonald's to join smaller chains like Chick-Fil-A and Panera Bread in censoring their public networks.

"McDonald's is committed to providing a safe environment for our customers," a spokesman tells 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."

Starbucks has yet to implement content filters, but CNN reports that the company is making moves to make their coffee shops' networks porn free.

"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 spokesperson tells CNN. "In the meantime, we reserve the right to stop any behavior that interferes with our customer experience, including what is accessed on our free Wi-Fi."

To be sure, there is no data to show that people have been using public Wi-Fi at these two chains to surf pornographic websites. Before implementing the internet filters, McDonald's said it was not aware of any problems with customers accessing porn at its restaurants. That said, the move to block explicit content was more to help foster a family-friendly atmosphere than to combat problems, the company said.

But Donna Rice Hughes, who applauded McDonald's and Starbucks, said porn on public Wi-Fi is a big problem: "Internet pornography is a public health crisis," she tells CNN.

Published on: Jul 18, 2016