New York hotel stops its WiFi network from inserting code

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".

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7 Comments

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The best hotel wifi I have used is at small B&B's and the like, where the connection is pretty much like a normal home connection.
I have paid for wifi in a larger hotel once, and it was awful (travelodge in the UK for anyone who is wondering).

Nashy said,
Who cares? It's friggin free.

No its not...you paid for it when you rented the room but you didn't pay to be saturated with ads in that manner. Doesn't matter when they advertise "Free WIFI" on the outside banners..it is not free - you did pay for it.

sava700 said,

No its not...you paid for it when you rented the room but you didn't pay to be saturated with ads in that manner. Doesn't matter when they advertise "Free WIFI" on the outside banners..it is not free - you did pay for it.

You are right in saying that just because it says it is "free wifi" with a room, that doesn't really mean that it is truly free. That being said, I've staying in hotels that wanted $20/night for access to WiFi. In all cases the pay-for WiFi has always been better, but $20? Ouch...

"unbeknownst to the hotel".

Yeah, right! Who in their right mind is going to believe that?

If that's the case also, I sure as heck would not want to be using their network anyway as they obviously don't know how to manage it then!!

cork1958 said,
"unbeknownst to the hotel".

Yeah, right! Who in their right mind is going to believe that?

If that's the case also, I sure as heck would not want to be using their network anyway as they obviously don't know how to manage it then!!

thats right they dont know how to manage it, thats why they leave the management of it to the ISP providing it. How else could an ISP insert code into the 'WiFi' network which sites behind the edge router. If the ISP was just the ISP and not managing the network then the code would have to be inserted at the ISP network thereby it wouldnt be a WiFi specific issue, it would affect all traffic on the end of that connection.