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Hotels fail on privacy and security lawsuit shows

October 9, 2009

By Evergreen,

The court case over a former Oregonian who secretly videotaped ESPN reporter Erin Andrews in her own hotel room brings to light problems beyond the criminal behavior and towards to the role of the hotels.    Andrews was unknowingly stalked because the hotels gave away her hotel room to anyone that asked.  In this case the predator posed as a friend  and asked to have the room next to Andrews.   At the hotel he would reverse the peephole (from the hallway) which was his key to invading Andrews privacy.

Just a few weeks ago I was at a hotel and I locked myself out of the room by leaving all of my belongings behind.  I went and found a maid who let me in.  Once in I asked if she needed to see my ID and she declined.  That is how lax many hotel security measures are.  I hope this case will be a wake-up call to all hotel chains to change their behavior.  No one should be identified as being in a hotel unless the guest permits it.  No one should be allowed in a room without providing ID.

Below are the details of the Andrews case as described by USA Today.

* In July 2008, Barrett called around 14 Milwaukee hotels until he found one (Ramada Conference Center, formerly the Radisson Airport) that allegedly confirmed that Andrews would be a guest. Though he never checked in, it was discovered that the peephole in her room had been altered to allow viewing from outside the room,

* Though Andrews stayed at the Ramada in July 2008, the FBI agents found the tampered peephole still in place during their Sept. 30, 2009 visit,

* In September 2008, Barrett’s somehow learned that Andrews was staying at the Marriott Nashville,

* At the Marriott, Barrett requested the room next to Andrews – a request that was filed in the computer reservation system and accepted, without Andrews’ permission. Barrett checked into the room next to Andrews’ room in a private alcove at the end of a hallway,

* Andrews was surreptitiously filmed with a cell-phone camera while nude in her room at the Marriott Nashville through the door’s peephole, which had been discreetly modified to allow visibility from the outside.

* Though Andrews was taped inside her Marriott Nashville room in September 2008, the FBI agents found the tampered peephole in place during their August 2009 visit.

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