Hotel’s Free Wi-Fi Comes With Hidden Extras | Bits – Nytimes
Justin Watt, a Web engineer, was browsing the Web in his room at the Courtyard Marriott in Midtown Manhattan this week when he saw something strange. On his personal blog, a mysterious gap was appearing at the top of the page.
After some sleuthing, Mr. Watt, who has a background in developing Web advertising tools, realized that the quirk was not confined to his site. The hotel’s Internet service was secretly injecting lines of code into every page he visited, code that could allow it to insert ads into any Web page without the knowledge of the site visitor or the page’s creator. (He did not actually see any such ads.)
Mr. Watt posted about the discovery on his blog, and that soon spawned a conversation on Hacker News, a discussion site for tech topics, about the ethics of this technique. One commenter described it as “icky,” and another asked, “Why aren’t they putting ads in my pillow?”