A few months ago, Marriott was fined $600,000 by the FCC for illegally jamming the signals for people’s cell phones and personal wi-fi devices so they could force them to pay the exorbitant cost of their hotel’s “high speed” internet. Now they want the FCC to give them permission to do so:
Marriott International and the American Hotel and Lodging Association are asking the F.C.C. to give hotels the green light to remotely disable the Wi-Fi devices that some travelers use to connect their laptops and tablet computers to the Internet through cellular services from companies like Verizon. This would force guests to buy the wireless Internet service provided by hotels.
In its petition, the hotel industry asks the commission to create an exception to rules that prohibit anyone from “willful or malicious interference” with wireless communications that are “licensed or authorized” by the government. The industry asserts that because Wi-Fi signals use unlicensed frequencies, they do not deserve the same protection as licensed services like cellphone networks. That is an absurd argument, since the government has authorized unlicensed Wi-Fi devices and networks. Other countries, like Britain, prohibit “deliberate interference” of wireless communications…Hotel industry officials say they want to protect guests from rogue Wi-Fi networks that are designed by criminals to look as though they are part of hotel-operated Wi-Fi systems and that are used to hack into travelers’ computers. They say this issue is a particular worry at conferences where dozens of exhibitors and thousands of visitors are using Wi-Fi.
Oh yes, of course. They’re being totally altruistic here, you guys. They’re just trying to protect you because you’re obviously a complete moron who has no idea which cellular hotspot you set up for your own use is actually yours.