Marriott fined US$600,000 for jamming guests' Wi-Fi gear

By David Flynn, October 4 2014

The Marriott group has been slammed with a US$600,000 fine for jamming guests' Wi-Fi gear in an effort to force them to pay for the hotel's own Internet service.

Acting on complaints by a guest at one of Marriot's Gaylord resort & conference centre properties, the US Federal Communications Commission found that the hotel was blocking the signals of personal 'pocket hotspots' – which convert 3G or 4G mobile signals into a low-power Wi-Fi network.

According to ABC News, after jamming those personal connections, "Marriott was charging conference organisers and exhibitors between $250 and $1,000, per access point to use the Gaylord's Wi-Fi connection."

"Marriott agreed to the fine and has instructed its hotels not to use the jamming technology in the way it was used at Opryland, according to the FCC."

However, Marriott maintains it is within its right to block these BYO hotspots to make their own hotel network more secure against "rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft."

A spokesman for the company said that only a handful of Marriott's 4,000 hotels worldwide currently screen for hotspot interference.

"It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots while also charging consumers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel's own Wi-Fi network," said FCC enforcement bureau chief Travis LeBlanc.

"This practice puts consumers in the untenable position of either paying twice for the same service or forgoing Internet access altogether."

Read more: Marriott Fined $600,000 for Jamming Guests' Wi-Fi

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2012

Total posts 126

However, Marriott maintains it is within its right to block these BYO hotspots to make their own hotel network more secure against "rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft."....


yeah sure... That's exactly what the Marriott hotels group had at the forefront of their minds.

scam!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

OMFingG! This is atrocious, Marriott just got scrubbed off my list for future stays. The poor excuse they provided reminds me of the claptrap that our classy Jacqui Lambie provides as explanations when queried about anything she has said! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 457

Sadly, this type of activity is quite common in the conference and events market. 

There is a very large IT conference every year in Sydney that tries this on - stating that mifi devices will degrade venue wifi and they will have their spies customer service staff roaming the venue looking for rogue, unauthorised hotspots. Coincidently, exhibitors can purchase wifi access at highly inflated prices with strict data usage limits...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 131

Sounds like a job for a Pineapple...


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