Motels Sharing “Daily Guest List with Police” and Aiding Warrant Checks on Every Guest

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The motel and hotel indus­try is not only spy­ing you, it is part­ner­ing with police.

This isn’t just rou­tine coop­er­a­tion when police request infor­ma­tion for crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions. Instead, it is appar­ent­ly every­day data shar­ing on every guest.

It is a trou­bling pri­vate-pub­lic over­lap where motel and hotel clerks are sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly shar­ing “do not rent” lists and help­ing police to run checks on guests dai­ly for out­stand­ing war­rants. Stay­ing at Motel 6, and oth­er chains pur­su­ing sim­i­lar poli­cies, now includes a hid­den guilty-until-proven inno­cent back­ground check that puts ordi­nary trav­el­ers one step away from a call to police. From the Prov­i­dence Jour­nal:

City police have arrest­ed four peo­ple stay­ing at the Motel 6 on Jef­fer­son Boule­vard as a result of the hotel chain’s agree­ment to pro­vide police with a dai­ly guest list, May­or Scott Ave­disian said Tues­day.

The names of Motel 6 guests, which police then check for out­stand­ing war­rants, is one of five steps Motel 6 cor­po­rate man­agers agreed to take in response to a string of high-pro­file inci­dents and con­cerns the estab­lish­ment was becom­ing a haven for pass­ing crim­i­nals.

The oth­er mea­sures list­ed in an agree­ment Motel 6 exec­u­tives signed Tues­day include rais­ing the min­i­mum age to rent a room from 18 years old to 21, hir­ing a police detail every night, shar­ing their nation­al “do not rent list” with police and con­duct­ing reg­u­lar train­ing, includ­ing on how to spot human traf­fick­ing.

We know every­one who is stay­ing in the hotel tonight,” Ave­disian said in a phone inter­view after a meet­ing with Motel 6 exec­u­tives that also includ­ed War­wick police chief Col. Stephen M. McCart­ney and Seekonk, Mass., Town Admin­is­tra­tor Shawn E. Cadime.

Cop­Block sums it up more blunt­ly:

The pop­u­lar hotel chain, Motel 6, has recent­ly decid­ed to part­ner with the police to vio­late the rights of their guests. With­out the con­sent of the guest, or even inform­ing them what­so­ev­er, Motel 6 employ­ees will now turn over the guest infor­ma­tion to the police, who will then run a back­ground check on the sub­ject.

And, as a pol­i­cy, the motel chain is not even both­er­ing to inform guests at check-in. They are not told about the hid­den lay­er of screen­ing – yet they are sub­ject­ed to it.

As of now, guests who check-in at Warwick’s Motel 6 will not be told their names are on a list that goes to the police sta­tion every night.

Alert­ing motel guests that local police know their where­abouts “is not a nor­mal process of our check-in,” said Vic­tor Glover, a vice pres­i­dent of safe­ty and secu­ri­ty for G6 Hos­pi­tal­i­ty, the par­ent com­pa­ny for Motel 6.

Cue the pre­dictable excus­es: “If you aren’t doing any­thing wrong, you have noth­ing to hide.”

Of course, vir­tu­al­ly the same thing has been going on between the NSA and Internet/telecommunications com­pa­nies, with the lat­ter will­ing­ly hand­ing over data on its cus­tomers for intel­li­gence pro­cess­ing at the expense of indi­vid­ual civ­il rights and cus­tomer trust.

While this type of pre-crime screen­ing for autho­riza­tion may seem like a worth­while way to flush out crim­i­nals, but the accep­tance of the guilty-until-proven mind­set is allow­ing this to pop up with lists oper­at­ing through­out soci­ety as “do not fly” lists do with air­ports.

Then White House Chief-of-Staff and cur­rent Chica­go may­or Rahm Emanuel argued for a “no buy” gun list that would oper­ate sim­i­lar to the “no fly list.” Oth­er sec­tors of soci­ety are using cred­it reports and social media pro­files to flag would-be sus­pects, risky lenders and con­sumers.

Watch these 3 reports here:

And despite what you may be think­ing, not every­one on these lists is actu­al­ly a crim­i­nal, poten­tial ter­ror­ists or offend­er. In fact, there is way too much room for abuse and polit­i­cal tyran­ny. With enough time to blos­som, these data lists will make sec­ond class cit­i­zens out of large sec­tors of the pop­u­la­tion.

In the decade fol­low­ing 9/11, count­less news reports sur­faced about peo­ple with clean records being barred from trav­el because their name match­es or is sim­i­lar to an actu­al sus­pect. Many such peo­ple were put on the list sim­ply by mis­take, or through ulte­ri­or motives by those work­ing the sys­tem.

In any case, these peo­ple have lit­tle recourse for get­ting off the lists. Cas­es sur­round­ing air­port “no fly lists” have left many peo­ple frus­trat­ed at civ­il rights vio­la­tions that judges have been unable or unwill­ing to strike down.

The police state is here, and it is grow­ing dark­er every sec­ond through the vast accu­mu­la­tion of per­son­al data. Is any­one will­ing to stand up and say­ing not to it?