Microsoft and Google have objected to the petition filed by Hotel Marriott to get the right to block personal Wi-Fi on their premises. Microsoft and Google, the two biggest names in the tech sector, along with a few more, have filed objections against the petition. The tech giants assert that devices with a capability of interfering with radio signals are not legal.
Microsoft presents strong reasoning
A report from Re/code stated that the FCC had received a petition from two major names in the hotel and hospitality industry, Marriott International and the American Hospitality & Lodging Association. Under the petition, they have asked for the agency to grant hotel operators the permission to utilize equipment to manage their networks, even if this results “in interference with or causes interference to” devices used by the guests.
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The said petition follows a settlement case for $600,000 in October. In this case, a jammer was being used by employees of Marriott’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center to block internet access.
The filing from Microsoft notes that the Wi-Fi hotspot used by hotel guests operates in the unlicensed spectrum, and any method of excluding authorized devices from accessing the unlicensed spectrum “under the guise of mitigating so-called threats to the reliability (performance) of an operator’s own network” is a violation of Section 333. This section restricts “‘willful or malicious interference’ to radio signals.”
Weak arguments from hotel chain
Microsoft also argues that by restricting customers from setting up their own connections, Marriott would be forcing customers to use the Wi-Fi of the hotel and hence pay for it. The tech company didn’t find it justified because customers had already made payments to their operators to get the ability to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot anywhere they wanted.
The hotel chain too stood up in its defense and said it is only trying to protect its customers from the disadvantages and risks of using rogue wireless hotspots. Such hotspots come with multiple issues, such as degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft, claims Marriott. The argument given by Marriott is not good enough, as the network of hotels are compromised ones with many people using it, but personal Wi-Fi hotspots are far safer because they are private.