FCC issues warning on WiFi blocking, cites “disturbing” trend

Gigaom

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday sent out a public notice  warning hotels, convention centers and other businesses not to tamper with consumers’ personal WiFi hot spots, or else face penalties.

“In the 21st Century, Wi-Fi represents an essential on-ramp to the Internet. 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 Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premise,” the agency said in press release.

The announcement comes months after the agency reached a $600,000 settlement with the Marriott International Hotel over its use of so called “de-authentication packets” to deactivate customers’ personal signals. Since that episode, the FCC claims, commercial internet providers have complained about numerous other incidents of businesses interfering with…

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