TechSpot

FCC fines Hilton Hotels and M.C. Dean for blocking Wi-Fi hotspots

By midian182
Nov 3, 2015
Post New Reply
  1. The Federal Communications Commission is clamping down on companies that block personal Wi-Fi spots in order to get people to buy access to their own expensive Wi-Fi networks. Both Hilton Hotels and I.T. services provider M.C. Dean have been fined a total of almost $750,000 for engaging in the practice.

    The FCC has proposed a $718,000 fine against M.C. Dean for disabling consumers’ Wi-Fi hotpots at the Baltimore Convention Center between November and December of 2014. It was found that the company, which provides Wi-Fi services to the convention center, had enabled an ‘Auto Block Mode’ on its Wi-Fi system which jammed all other Wi-Fi routers in the building. The agency said this was an attempt to force convention-goers and exhibitors to use a Wi-Fi service which M.C. Dean charged at a rate of up to $1095 per event. It’s also alleged that these actions disrupted Wi-Fi signals outside of the venue, including in passing vehicles.

    "Consumers are tired of being taken advantage of by hotels and convention centers that block their personal Wi-Fi connections," said Travis LeBlanc, chief of the FCC's enforcement bureau," in a statement. "This disturbing practice must come to an end. It is patently unlawful for any company to maliciously block FCC-approved Wi-Fi connections."

    In a separate case, the Commission proposed that Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. face a $25,000 fine for reportedly obstructing a probe into whether it was also interfering with WiFi hotspots. The FCC says it received a complaint about a Hilton property in Anaheim, California, which was blocking guests’ Wi-Fi hotspots and charging $500 to access the hotel’s own network. This was one of many complaints filed against the Hotel chain which - one year after the FCC requested it - has yet to provide the Commission with information regarding Wi-Fi management practices in the company's U.S. properties.

    In January 2105, the FCC stated that Wi-Fi blocking is prohibited. "Personal Wi-Fi networks, or 'hot spots,' are an important way that consumers connect to the Internet. Willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi hot spots is illegal," the public notice reads. The FCC fined the Marriott hotel chain $600,000 last year for engaging in similar practices.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,509   +2,055

    Great. I like to see this, although the fines are a little lax, they should be at least double but it's a start nonetheless.
     
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,184   +528

    These are just baby slaps to the wrist.
    If they were pirating movies it would be 1000 times as much.
     
    NightAngel79 likes this.
  4. umbala

    umbala TS Addict Posts: 169   +145

    These "fines" sound like peanuts when you consider these hotel chains probably made millions or tens of millions by blocking WiFi. I bet these hotels will keep doing this too. I mean, why not? If I could rip people off for a million dollars knowing I'll get fined 500k, I'd still be 500k ahead.

    What they really need to do is looking into their books (fat chance) and see how much profit they actually made off this trick and then add an extra 0 at the end and fine them THAT amount! I guarantee they won't be pulling this crap again after that.
     
  5. aspleme

    aspleme TS Enthusiast Posts: 56

    The FCC stated that Wi-Fi blocking is prohibited... I'm sorry that it is going to take them another 90 years to make this decision. :(
     

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...