On Monday, we reported that the free WiFi network at the Courtyard Marriott hotel in New York City was discovered to be placing hidden ad codes in the websites viewed by the people who used the wireless network. Now The New York Times is reporting that Marriott International has now claimed it has stopped this practice at two of its NYC hotels.
According to a statement from Marriott International, both the Courtyard Marriott and the Residence Inn in NYC's Manhattan locations had this kind of sneaky ad insertion system in its WiFi network. However, the company added that the WiFi's ISP was the one that had placed the code in the wireless networks "unbeknownst to the hotel".
Marriott International's statement says that the ISP has now disabled this code at these two hotels at the company's request, adding:
While this is a common marketing practice with many Internet service providers, Marriott does not condone this practice. At no time was data security ever at risk. We will continue to look into this matter and find opportunities to remind our hotels of Marriott’s high-speed Internet policies.
The actual ad code was created by a company called RG Nets, which proudly describes its process on its website. The company has so far not commented on Marriott's actions. It's currently unknown how many other hotels or other "free" WiFi networks might have RG Nets' "services".