FCC to Marriott: Go Cheney Yourself

The FCC just made it clear to hotels and convention centers, you block WiFi, and there will be sanctions:

After Marriott blocked Wi-Fi hotspots in parts of its hotels, the FCC sent a stern warning: don’t even think about trying that again.

“The Communications Act prohibits anyone from … interfering with authorized radio communications, including Wi-Fi,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a statement. “Marriott’s request seeking the FCC’s blessing to block guests’ use of non-Marriott networks is contrary to this basic principle.”

Wheeler pointed out that the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau fined Marriott (MAR) $600,000 for blocking Wi-Fi, and said the agency will fine other hotels if they try anything similar.

After being fined, Marriott petitioned the FCC to change the Communications Act so that it could block access to Wi-Fi devices in its conference spaces. The hotel chain said it needed to block Wi-Fi hotspot access in conference centers because attendees could launch cyberattacks on the company’s network or disrupt Wi-Fi service for the conference or guests.

Many customers were outraged by the petition, claiming that Marriott’s request for a conference center Wi-Fi ban was a veiled attempt to ban access in hotel rooms and lobbies as well.

Of course it was.

Overpriced phone and internet has been a major profit center for hotels, and they are eager to find ways to get that money back.

The law is pretty simple though:  Civilians operating radio jammers is illegal.

In fact, it’s illegal for most law enforcement as well.

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