A couple years back, I wrote about the curious case of Onity, a company that makes door locks for hotel rooms. Thing is, their locks fail to do the one thing they’re supposed to do, as shown when one man at a Black Hat security conference used a cheap device to access the lock’s dataport and cause it to unlock. The idea was that a lock that is defeated by equipment that costs pocket change isn’t so much a lock as it is a decoration. Onity, in the company’s infinite wisdom, claimed the long term fix, a new system board, was available to its customers…for a price.
A class action’s worth of hotels weren’t satisfied with paying twice for the same product just to make it work, so they filed a lawsuit. That filing was recently rejected by a judgeusing some awfully strange logic.
The court’s decision turns on three key facts. First, the plaintiffs didn’t allege any actual security breaches; the courts says they are suing “only for the costs of preventing future unauthorized access.” Second, each lock still works in the sense that it “still performs the functions of locking the door upon closing it and unlocking it upon insertion of a properly-coded key card….the locks do not begin to fail on their own upon installation, nor are they all ‘doomed to fail’ eventually.” Third, the court says any future security breaches “could occur only if third parties engaged in criminal conduct to enter Plaintiffs’ hotel rooms.”
Yep, the company wants hotels to pay twice for a lock that did not really work as advertised the first time. AIn’t America great?
I’m sure we wuld all be happy to have out room broken into because the locks did not provide real security. Sweet.