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/

Curious thought (Score: 1)

by kerrany@pipedot.org on 2014-10-09 17:51 (#2T6N)

More interesting than the legal ramifications: are they right about improving security? If you were a customer of theirs during the blocking you would have two options: go outside or buy wifi. Presuming they had decent security, would this not have stopped all those "suspicious_hotspot is nearby with 4 bars, do you want to use it" situations? Was the security reasoning behind this legitimate? (Obviously it's a money-grab, they could've given the wifi out for free in dozens of safe ways, but maybe their logic isn't entirely unsound.)

Then again, hotel wifi is about the most holey, vermin-infested place you can connect to the 'net. I'd be shocked if they actually had good security. Anyone ever stayed there while this was going on?
Post Comment
Subject
Comment
Captcha
Which of 43, 42 or 58 is the highest?