Both Google and Microsoft have filed objections to a petition to grant hoteliers the right to block personal Wi-Fi hotspots whilst on their premises. Two of the biggest technology companies, Google and Microsoft, are amongst firms who have made known their objections to the plan. They note the illegality of any such devices that are capable of interfering with radio signals.
Recode have noted that hotel company Marriott International and the American Hospitality & Lodging Association has petitioned the FCC to permit hotel operators to make use of equipment that manages manage their networks, regardless of whether it may result “in interference with or cause interference to” devices used by guests.”
This news follows a $600,000 settlement case in back in October of this year, when it came to light that the employees of Marriott’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Centre were using a jammer to block guests internet access.
In the filing, Microsoft stated that a Wi-Fi hotspot set up by a hotel guest is authorised to operate in the unlicensed spectrum and pointing out that “wilfully excluding these other authorised devices from using that unlicensed spectrum, under the guise of mitigating so-called threats to the reliability (performance) of an operator’s own network, violates Section 333,” which bars “wilful or malicious interference” to radio signals.”
The company also noted that by making a restriction on the ability to set up their own connections, Marriott would be making the customer pay to access the hotel’s own Wi-Fi. The customer, however would have already paid their mobile operator for the ability to set up a WiFi hotspot anywhere. The arguments are going to go back and forth for a while, it seems as Marriott International had argued that it was not breaking the law, but that it was protecting their guests from “rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber attacks and identity theft.”
There are are several examples though, that show guests are much safer connecting to their own personal Wi-Fi hotspots than the would be connecting to a possibly compromised hotel Wi-Fi network.
[Image via nypost]