Many people aren't even aware that Marriott was blocking hotspots at the Gaylord Opryland (in violation of Section 333 of the Communications Act) - or that the FCC fined Marriott $600,000 for doing so.
But as NakedSecurity recently reported, Marriott has announced that it will cease, for now, blocking people from using their personal Wi-Fi devices at their hotels. But it isn't given up the fight to get the FCC's blessing.
In overblown language, Marriott says its efforts are about protecting Wi-Fi security, protecting guests from degradation of service, "insidious cyber-attacks" and identity theft. Of course, no one believes that - especially since Marriott said on December 30th that it didn't mean to block access in guest rooms, but only in conference rooms and meeting spaces.
If Marriott's claim had any validity, you'd have to block hotspots everywhere. As the article suggests, the real reason is likely "sweet, sweet payola" - conference exhibitors are charged $250-$1000 per device to use the Marriott's Wi-Fi.
Highway robbery - and very lucrative. I hope the FCC turns a deaf ear to any further requests to block hotspots. You can be darn sure that if it is allowed in conference areas, there will be an attempt to spread it to guest rooms as well. And guests (like us) are smarter these days - if a hotel insists on charging fees for wireless access, we simply use our own hotspot. Hotels have been outmaneuvered by technology. What they should be doing is including Wi-Fi in the room rate and stop making guests feel a distinct lack of hospitality by having to pony up absurd fees for something that should be offered gratis.
The times have changed, and hotels need to change with them. Nothing makes us madder than getting free Wi-Fi in many economy hotels, which do seem to "get the message" and then being charged obscene Wi-Fi connection fees in luxury hotels. They seem to be operating from a "How to Alienate Your Guests" playbook.
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Digital Forensics/Information Security/Information Technology