The message from the Federal Communications Commission is loud and clear: Do not mess with people’s access to the Internet. That’s a lesson it’s trying to teach the wireless carriers and, it turns out, hotels too.
According to the FCC, Marriott’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center intentionally used Wi-Fi jamming tactics on its own guests. The interference made it impossible for people to use their own personal hotspots, leaving Marriott’s costly Wi-Fi as the only other option. In response to the investigation, the hotel agreed Friday to pay a penalty of $600,000 and promised to stop its signal-blocking activities.
But that’s as close as it has come to an apology.
Despite getting caught in this mafia-worthy shakedown and consenting to pay the fine, the hotel doesn’t admit any wrongdoing. Instead, it offers this excuse: We’re squashing guests’ Wi-Fi because we care about our security and theirs.
Where You Can Go And Disconnect
[A] complainant alleged that the Gaylord Opryland was “jamming mobile hotspots so that you can’t use them in the convention space.” Marriott has admitted that one or more of its employees used containment features of a Wi-Fi monitoring system at the Gaylord Opryland to prevent consumers from connecting to the Internet via their own personal Wi-Fi networks.
CNN reports that Marriott didn’t use a typical wireless-signal jammer, which the FCC defines as a radio frequency device that illegally interferes or impedes with “authorized radio communications.” The news outlet spoke to a senior FCC official, who said that staffers used the hotel’s own Wi-Fi system to interfere and dampen outside signals.
However, details in the commission’s filing clearly shows that some specialized equipment from a third-party vendor was used:
Marriott operates a Wi-Fi monitoring system manufactured by a third party that was installed at the Gaylord Opryland. Among other features, the system includes a containment capability that, when activated, will cause the sending of de-authentication packets to Wi-Fi Internet access points that are not part of Marriott’s Wi-Fi system or authorized by Marriott and that Marriott has classified as “rogue.
Either way, the result is the same: All Wi-Fi, other than Marriott’s own, was — For more information read the original article here.