Hotel Keycard Urban Legend Comes Back… But With Attribution

from the have-things-chaned? dept

A couple years ago, an urban legend started spreading like wildfire that the hotel keycards you get contained all sorts of unencrypted information about you, including your credit card number and home address. It scared a bunch of folks for a while until it was pretty thoroughly debunked by Snopes and others. However, it’s now back. Computerworld is bringing the story back with almost all of the same details — but with one major exception. The writer there actually has a source: a Peter Wallace, who is apparently the IT Director at AAA Reading-Berks in Wyomissing, Penn. Wallace, apparently, carries a cheap card reader when he travels and has found a few hotels that he says do record much of the info that was rumored (and denied by many, many hotels) years ago. So, were the hotels lying? Did the urban legend give them the bright idea? Or is the story being mis-reported once again? The Computerworld writer doesn’t say how he found this info out from Wallace, or suggest why a hotel would ever want to include such info on a card when there’s almost no actual reason to do so.

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Comments on “Hotel Keycard Urban Legend Comes Back… But With Attribution”

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Robert Mitchell (user link) says:

Hotel Card Keys

Regarding the hotel key information on Computerworld’s Web site, that was indeed an observation in my blog and not a reported story. It’s a snippet of information gleaned while talking to Wallace for another topic. Often during reporting interesting asides come up and my blog is a good place to drop those snippets from time to time.

I have no reason to think that Wallace would make any of this up. It was simply a side comment he made. Wallace won’t say which hotels, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that a few smaller chains have this problem.

But one doesn’t have to take his word for it. There’s an easy way to find out if he’s right, isn’t there?

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