Motel 6 Corporation Sued for Giving Personal Information of Guests to ICE Agents
By: Suzy Adams, Xiro Xone News January 4, 2018 Updated: 2:55 AM PT
SEATTLE, Washington (Xiro Xone News) — Seattle Washington's attorney general Bob Ferguson announced that his office was suing the Motel 6 chain for violating state consumer privacy protection laws. Attorney general Ferguson said, “The national budget chain disclosed the private information of thousands of its guests to U.S. immigration authorities in violation of state consumer protection laws.”
Ferguson, in a news conference on Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018, said, “The motel divulged to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the names, dates of birth, license plate numbers and room numbers of more than 9,000 guests at six locations throughout the state of Washington, violating the state's consumer protection laws and the privacy of its guests thousands of times.”
The investigation by the attorney general's office was prompted by news reports that Motel 6 workers at two Phoenix locations provided personal information of guests to ICE agents, who later arrested 20 people on immigration related charges.
Motel 6 employees were aware that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE) used the information to target guests based on ethnicity and national origin in violation of state laws, but that did not stop them. Motel 6, is alleged to have divulged the names, birthdates, driver's license numbers, license plate numbers and room numbers of more then 9, 000 guests, to agents without a warrant. "The company's actions were methodical. They trained their new employees on how to do this," Ferguson said. Because of the information provided by Motel 6, people were detained and questioned on or near Motel 6 properties over the course of two years
Motel 6 provided the information without guests' knowledge or consent. The “Washington Supreme Court makes it clear that guest registry information is private, “ said Ferguson, and Motel 6 violated the law each time it gave out private information.
"In September, Motel 6 issued a directive to all locations, making it clear that they are prohibited from voluntarily providing daily guests lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)." One critic of the motel chain said, "Does thet mean instead of a daily list, the employees can provide a monthly list?"
As pointed out by a privacy rights advocate, the conduct of Motel 6 opens the door to questions such as, what other hotel and motel brands across the country is sharing personal information of their guests, without their knowledge or a warrant?