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La Quinta Inn Watches My Traffic?

Michael Bane gets shut out of some Hotel WiFi for “questionable traffic,” namely, reading gun blogs:

Am on the way to the airport in a couple of minutes…I wanted to post more, but the airport hotel I’m in, La Qunita, whacked my Internet access because of “questionable traffic…” That would, I suppose, be guns. I signed off their service and booted my 3G model. Interestingly enough, the specific site that got me was The Firearms Blog, which I like to check every day.

This is why I always use an encrypted tunnel if I’m on Hotel or other WiFi that I don’t control. I can tell you this though, I won’t be staying in an La Quinta inn any time soon.

20 Responses to “La Quinta Inn Watches My Traffic?”

  1. Robb Allen says:

    Websense blocks my blog as Weapons.

    And, like you, I set up VPN or SSH anywhere I go.

  2. Boondoggie says:

    You should have just been surfing porn, that would have been fine.

  3. Adam says:

    What kind of security software do you use on public WiFi? I often thought it would be a good idea, but I don’t even know what such software would be called to look for it.

  4. Jessie Weber says:

    I have experienced this at a local hospital that offered complimentary Wifi. Several sites includING The Firearm Blog and AR15.com were blocked for relating to “Weapons”.

  5. Pete says:

    If you are not going to stay at La Quinta again because of this incident you must let the corporate HQ know, and the specific reason why. This may be a policy that was created and implemented with little discussion, as soon as they realize that it may in fact hurt the bottom line they may be more apt to change.

  6. Sebastian says:

    Pete:

    That is a good point.

    Adam:

    I use OpenVPN

  7. Adam says:

    Sebastian,

    Looking into it. Thanks.

  8. Sebastian says:

    It requires running an OpenVPN server on the remote side. I run OpenVPN here at work, so I just use our systems for it. But you could set it up on a Linux box without too much trouble.

  9. Thirdpower says:

    I can thankfully say I haven’t had any troubles at the Holiday Inn’s or Best Western’s I frequent.

  10. Bob says:

    I’ve always used hotspot shield its made just for this kind of situation.
    http://hotspotshield.com/

  11. Sebastian says:

    That implies you trust hotspotshield not to watch what you’re doing :)

  12. Link P says:

    An SSH tunnel to a squid proxy works well, too.

  13. Sebastian says:

    You can even skip the squid proxy using the -D option in SSH.

  14. hecate says:

    I just use my air card. Who cares what the hotel offers.

  15. Wolfwood says:

    Panera does something similar, too. It’s inconsistent, though; IIRC, THR.us is off-limits, but TFL is fine.

  16. Sigivald says:

    To expand on waht Pete said, I suspect it’s not even a policy about guns.

    Most likely the motel in question has software installed to reduce people doing things like watching streaming porn videos (and perhaps even YouTube), to conserve bandwidth.

    Lots of such software has various sets of categories to block, such as the mentioned “weapons” category.

    And it’s really really easy for the guy installing it to just default to “block every category”.

    I’d assume incompetence or laziness over a deliberate anti-gun-website policy, myself.

  17. Joe Huffman says:

    At various times and places boomershoot.org has been off limits because of “violence” and “criminal activities”.

    My blog has been blocked for sexual content (well, okay, maybe) and weapons.

    Most of the time I attribute it to laziness or stupidity rather than maliciousness.

  18. Steve says:

    I use the build in proxying that ssh has. no configuration needed and it works well.

    I don’t know if it proxys DNS lookups, but that is more a privacy thing.

  19. Gareth A says:

    Heh, we’ve got the same thing at the college. Bloody annoying when a resource site is banned under “games” or whatever.

    Funnily enough, our testing Network (Netlab) doesn’t have that. I can access Ar15.com on Netlab, but at home, I just get a connection error. Tried it with two other friends who use different ISPs, works fine.

  20. Ian Argent says:

    The 3G modem is an admittedly expensive solution, but a good one for travellers. Depending on your carrier you can enable your cell phone to act as a modem; I am given to understand that at least one carrier allows you to turn it on and off in the month and pro-rate.

    The iPhone famously cannot be used as a 3G modem without jailbreaking it, of course :)

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