– To commemorate the beginning of October National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Enough Is Enough® (EIE) today launched “P*rn Free Wi-Fi℠,” http://www.friendlywifi.org, a new initiative to encourage corporate America to join the fight to prevent the Internet-initiated sexual exploitation of children.
EIE has been on the frontlines of Internet safety since 1994 and this campaign is its latest effort to protect children online.
“Now is the time for corporate America to take a stand against Internet p*rnography and child p*rnography that is damaging children,” said Donna Rice Hughes, CEO of EIE. “For 20 years, children have been spoon-fed a steady diet of online p*rnography, with few laws or barriers of entry. Recent peer-reviewed research shows 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.
“This is now a global public health issue that must be addressed holistically,” Hughes continued. “Parents, corporate America and law enforcement must share the responsibility to protect the younger generations, and we must do so now — together.”
The initial phase of EIE’s “P*rn Free Wi-Fi℠” campaign specifically requests McDonald’s and Starbucks to lead the way in this fight by implementing p*rnography filters in their more than 25,000 combined restaurants in the U.S.
Both companies were ahead of the curve in offering free Wi-Fi access to customers long before their competitors. Each corporation already pro-actively filters p*rnography and child p*rnography from its public Wi-Fi services in the United Kingdom under an industry-wide self-regulation initiative led by British Prime Minister David Cameron (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-internet-and-pornography-prime-minister-calls-for-action. EIE concurs with Cameron that “this has never been a debate about companies or government censoring the Internet, but about filters to protect children…” (http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2013/07/22/david-cameron-s-porn-speech-in-full.
Additionally, the United Kingdom recently launched a nation-wide “Friendly Wi-Fi” accreditation scheme to denote which cafes, restaurants and other businesses offering public Wi-Fi access meet a minimum level of filtering.
“If McDonald’s and Starbucks can protect children from p*rnography and child p*ornography in other nations, they should do so here in the U.S.,” said Hughes. “Offering safe Wi-Fi is in alignment with both McDonald’s and Starbucks’ corporate best practices and family-friendly policies. This would be a win-win for families and the companies’ respective brands. It's not about censorship; it’s about corporate responsibility and good corporate citizenship.”
The Internet P*rnograhphy Pandemic
The Internet p*rnography pandemic has been called “the largest unregulated social experiment in human history.” Since the advent of the Internet in the mid-90s, the federal obscenity statues that make it a crime to produce and distribute hard-core graphic p*rnography have not been aggressively enforced online. In fact, both the Attorneys General Reno and Holder have had a ‘hands-off-the-net’ approach to Internet obscenity prosecutions. Additionally, law enforcement is underfunded and undermanned in its efforts to battle the exploding multi-billion dollar child p*rn industry, which is now migrating to the deep web.
According to federal offices, public Wi-Fi services are increasingly being used to traffic child p*rnography and the sexual solicitation of children (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/10/AR2007021001457.html. These criminal felonies are difficult to deter because of the anonymity offered by open Wi-Fi hotspots. There have also been disturbing new reports from various states, including California, Illinois, South Dakota and Georgia, of men — some registered sex offenders — viewing p*rnography and child p*rnography at McDonald’s, sometimes in the children’s play area (http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Man-Arrested-at-Starbucks-for-Allegedly-Looking-at-Child-Porn-146895635.html).
Additionally, children and teens are also able to access free p*rn through these open hotspots, even if their parents have turned on filtering for their kids’ smart phones, tablets and laptops. A conscientious and tech-savvy youth can easily bypass parental controls via a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
Today, any child with unrestricted Internet access is just a click away from viewing, either intentionally or accidentally, free sexually explicit material online. This includes everything from adult pornography (the kind of images that appear in Playboy and Penthouse) to federally prosecutable obscene material depicting graphic sex acts, live sex shows, orgies, bestiality and violence. Even illegal content depicting the actual sexual abuse of a child (child p*rnography) — once only found on the black market — is instantly available and accessible on the Internet.
Filtering Internet content at restaurant hot spots is not unprecedented in the U.S. Some companies, such as Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread, do filter p*rnography, child p*rnography and other inappropriate content on their Wi-Fi networks in order to protect children and other patrons.
Last April, EIE sent certified letters (http://enough.org/inside.php?id=S20MX420O) to McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz appealing to each corporate leader to similarly implement the companies’ UK “Friendly Wi-Fi” service in the United States. While EIE has not received a reply from Starbucks, McDonald’s spokesperson did respond stating, “We appreciate your concern and are looking into options for effective filtering in the U.S.”
As part of the campaign, EIE is asking the public to take a stand and let their voices be heard by signing the "P*rn-Free Wi-Fi℠" petition at http://www.friendlywifi.org that EIE will send to the CEO's of both corporations.
“Parents need to be the first line of defense to safeguard their children online. However, they cannot shoulder the entire responsibility alone. If parents understand that strangers can view hard-core p*rnography and child p*rnography in front of their kids in these establishments, I believe they would join us in saying, ‘Enough is enough!’” said Hughes.
About Enough Is Enough
Enough Is Enough® (EIE) is a national non-profit organization, the mission for which is to make the Internet safer for children and families. Since 1994, EIE has been a national leader in the efforts to combat Internet p*rnography, child p*rnography, and sexual predation, incorporating a three-pronged approach. First, educating the public about Internet dangers and equipping them with safety solutions. Secondly, partnering within the technology industry to develop and implement viable, family-friendly technological safety solutions and best practices. And thirdly, promoting legal solutions that call for aggressive enforcement of existing laws and enactment of new laws to prevent the online exploitation and victimization of children EIE is dedicated to advancing awareness and solutions to these problems that promote equality, fairness and respect for human dignity 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.org; www.internetsafety101.org; www.friendlywifi.org
About Donna Rice Hughes
Donna Rice Hughes, CEO and President of Enough Is Enough®, is an Internet safety advocate, author and speaker. She is frequently sought out for her expertise by national media outlets, including (NBC) The Today Show, CNN and Fox News. She served as a Child Online Protection Commissioner, the U.S. Attorneys General’s Internet Safety Technical Task Force and won the 2013 Women in Technology Leadership Award for “Social Impact”. She is the Executive Producer and host of EIE’s Emmy and Telly award-winning Internet Safety 101® multi-media program. The adult curriculum was developed in partnership with the Department of Justice to prevent Internet-initiated crimes against children by educating, equipping and empowering parents, educators and caring adults with the knowledge and resources needed to protect children from online p*rnography, child p*rnography, sexual predators and cyberbullies, as well as cyber security risks and dangers related to social networking, online gaming and mobile devices.
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