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US hotel chain to pay $12mn for sharing guest lists

Washington, April 8 (IANS) American budget hotel chain, Motel 6, will pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit that said several of their properties in Washington state gave their guest lists to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the media reported.

Between 2015 and 2017, seven Motel 6 properties in the state shared approximately 80,000 guests’ personal information with ICE without requiring a warrant, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office said in a statement.

The guest lists contained private information of all guests at the hotel, violating their expectation of privacy, CNN reported on Sunday.

The hotel chain’s disclosures “resulted in ICE’s targeted investigation of many guests with Latino-sounding names”, the statement said, adding that Motel 6’s actions led to “significant harmful consequences, including the detention and deportation of many guests and the suffering of their families”.

Motel 6 admitted during the attorney general’s investigation that at least six of its Washington state locations shared guests’ information with ICE. 

“Motel 6’s actions tore families apart and violate the privacy rights of tens of thousands of Washingtonians,” Ferguson said in the statement. “Our resolution holds Motel 6 accountable for illegally handing over guests’ private information without a warrant.”

The attorney general’s office said the $12 million would go towards monetary damages for the 80,000 guests whose information was given to federal immigration authorities.

In January 2018, Ferguson’s office filed the lawsuit after two Motel 6 locations in Arizona were accused of giving guests’ information to federal immigration agents.

The chain reached a tentative settlement agreement in that case later that year.

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