Marriott is a grand name in the hotel business. High class services, breathtaking professional employees, and a comfortable, VIP outcome. Some good reasons for the nasty ones to interfere with their Wi-Fi system and put a threat over their personal user data, Marriott thought. As a result, they filed a petition with the FCC last year, wanting to “monitor and mitigate threats” that are brought close to their network with any cost, even if this fact meant to interfere with the devices of their clients. In other words, the clients of the hotel would be blocked from accessing hotspots that are different to the ones in the hotel, in order to be forced to pay for accessing wireless Internet at Marriott. Being asked what is the reason behind this demand, the CEO answered that the purpose is “to protect personal data in Wi-Fi hotspots for large conferences.” Bruce Hoffmeister, Global Chief Information Officer for Marriott said in a statement give to Eweek that
“Marriott International has decided to withdraw as a party to the petition seeking direction from the [Federal Communications Commission] on legal WiFi security measures. We thought we were doing the right thing asking the FCC to provide guidance, but the FCC has indicated its opposition.”
During the time that Marriott was sustaining its petition, the FCC tried to find out that was the real reason beneath it, as it was receiving a large number of complaints from the users, saying that the WiFi use in a meeting facility leads them to as much as $1.000 per access point. Unfortunately, there was no result. However, the FCC discovered that Marriott has been fined by the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, in violation of the laws of intentional interference. The hotel had to pay $600.000, and it actually did, but then it had petitioned once again, in order for them to be allowed to continue the practice of blocking WiFi of their guests.
Chairman Tom Wheeler and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel from the FCC were the ones who indicated their disapproval in all Marriott’s petitions, stating that the pretentions of the hotel’s CEO were very far from the basic principles of the Communications Act. As a result, they both wanted to see the petition gone and they made everything in order for this thing to happen as soon as possible, even if Marriott has had the support of other important names in the industry, such as the Hilton Hotels.
Image Source: Vietnam Hotels