Policy, Compliance

FCC warns businesses: Wi-Fi blocking prohibited

January 28, 2015

After paying a $600,000 fine for blocking guests' personal Wi-Fi networks, Marriott International said it still wanted clarification from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the matter. In an apparent attempt to put the issue to rest, and warn other businesses against participating in the practice, the FCC has responded, saying that all “willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi hotspots is illegal.”

On Tuesday, the agency issued an enforcement advisory, revealing that, after the Marriott settlement, the agency “received several complaints that other commercial Wi-Fi network operators may be disrupting legitimate operation of personal Wi-Fi hotspots.”

The FCC said that it was investigating the complaints and would take “appropriate action against violators.” 

The agency added that hotel guest hotspots, which had been blocked by Marriott, “did not pose a security threat” to the hotel's network like the chain previously alluded.

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