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Washington Sues Motel 6 for Sharing Data With Immigration Officials

Guest information was allegedly given to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Officers over two years

The Washington State Attorney General is taking Motel 6 to court, accusing the hotelier of sharing guest data with federal immigration officials. The Associated Press reports the lawsuit centers around state anti-discrimination laws.

The lawsuit claims motel employees willingly handed over information on over 9,000 guests to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers between June 25, 2015 and September 14, 2017. Consumer data includes names, birth dates, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers and room information. According to the Attorney General, this information is tied to the detention of at least six people.

The alleged data leaks are in violation of Washington State anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws, which prohibit the way data was handed over to immigration officers. The lawsuit claims Motel 6 broke the law every time personal information about guests was handed over. The attorney general is seeking a fine of $2,000 per incident, which could equate to over $18 million in penalties for the hotel chain.

In a statement to the AP, Motel 6 said they banned the practice of giving guest information to ICE in September 2017. The hotel chain said they take “…this matter very seriously, and we have and will continue to fully cooperate with the Office of the State Attorney General.” A spokesperson for ICE did not respond to a request to comment from the AP.

This is not the first time a Department of Homeland Security investigation has gone into a grey area with travelers. In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration was accused of “hiring” a Transportation Security Administration officer to look for flyers transporting high amounts of cash on commercial aircraft.


[Image: Wikimedia Commons]

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srdshelly January 9, 2018

The government has no right to know where I spend a night. If they have reason to believe a specific person has committed a specific crime they can go to a judge and get proper authorization to investigate. We must not give away our freedoms to enable security state fishing expeditions.