Marriott Puts An End To Shady Ad Injection Service

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Late last week, one Justin Watt discovered something suspicious going on with the Wi-Fi at his hotel, the Times Square Marriott. Not content to charge him hundreds for the room and $16.95 for internet access, it appeared that the service provider was using JavaScript injection to serve banner ads on every website guests visited.

The story spread like wildfire for obvious reasons, and at last Marriott has responded, saying the problem has been remedied and won’t happen again.

In an emailed statement, they write:

As soon as we learned of the situation, we launched an investigation into the matter. Preliminary findings revealed that, unbeknownst to the hotel, the Internet service provider (ISP) was utilizing functionality that allowed advertising to be pushed to the end user. The ISP has assured the hotel that this functionality has now been disabled.

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 company that apparently provides the Wi-Fi service, RG Nets Inc., has not made any statement. Their fate as the provider of this Marriott’s (and presumably others’) Wi-Fi is unknown.

Let this be a lesson to us all, though: this kind of behavior should not be tolerated, but it is up to savvy users like Justin not only to notice, but to care and investigate and follow through. Minor but real liberties like this will probably only increase in frequency, so be on the lookout and if you see something suspicious like this, tell an Internet.