Marriott fined $600,000 by FCC for interfering with customer WiFi hotspots

by
in legal on (#2T6H)
Marriott (since 2012) has been using wireless technology to prevent guests at the Gaylord Opryland hotel and convention center from using their own Wi-Fi mobile hotspots, forcing exhibitors or customers to use Marriott’s expensive Internet services, available at the whopping cost of $250 to $1,000 per wireless access point. Despite popular press reports, this did not involve "jamming" which is strictly illegal in the US, but instead something more like a WiFi DoS attack.

Marriott had deployed a Wi-Fi monitoring system with a “containment capability”. When activated, the system could identify Wi-Fi access points that were not part of Marriott’s own Wi-Fi system (or otherwise authorized by Marriott). Such non-Marriott access points were dubbed “rogues”. When rogues were detected, the system sent “de-authorization” packets to the unauthorized access points, booting those users off their free connections and, presumably, forcing them to pony up for Marriott’s paid Internet access.

http://www.commlawblog.com/2014/10/articles/enforcement-activities-fines-f/marriott-whacked-for-600000-for-war-on-rogue-wifi-hotspots/

Forbid personal hotspots in Marriott hotels? (Score: 3, Interesting)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2014-10-09 16:37 (#2T6J)

I am wondering, is it possible for Marriott hotels to forbid the use of personal hotspots? Part of the ToS guests have to sign? Could they then use their Wi-Fi monitoring system not to disrupt the customers hotspots, but to identify them and then fine the customer?

Ok, being able to send “de-authorization” packets does not mean to be able to identify or localize the hotspot. And doing this in the open is surely not a way to get more guests. So this is more a theoretical question.
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