Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

DEFCON Room Searches - When will we have an update?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Question: DEFCON Room Searches - When will we have an update?

    Last year there were some major issues with Caesars "security staff" entering attendees rooms
    sometimes, unannounced. These issues included, but were not limited to, gross Unprofessionalism
    and hostility.

    We were assured last year (nearly 3 months after the conference)
    that this would be followed up on until a "satisfactory result is achieved". We have just
    completed DEFCON China, are about to start DEFCON 27, and the results of any actions taken
    thus far are FAR, FAR, from "satisfactory". When will this be addressed?

    Caesars has yet to even provide a "policy", just a single page FAQ that seems to be an
    after thought at best.
    (https://defcon.org/images/defcon-mai...eck-policy.pdf)

    What actions have been taken against those that violated Caesars statements? How will they
    ensure that this will absolutely never happen again? When will I be able to lock my door and expect
    that “Leave me alone!” *ahem* “Do Not Disturb” is thoroughly understood?

    Additionally, while debating to book rooms for this year, no mention of such policy existed,
    even with a reasonable amount of searching. Does this mean that no room searches will be
    conducted? And anyone banging on the door claiming to be "hotel security" can be dismissed
    like a drunk in the hallway?

    Our community of experts has seen the security theater, and know that does nothing to achieve an
    increased level of security. Merely an illusion of security. It has actually introduced many more
    issues than it fixes, and makes guests feel even more uncomfortable than before. The only thing
    worse than being completely unsecured, is believing that you are.

    For a community that takes privacy and personal security seriously, this is upsetting at
    best, and shameful at worst.


    In these times privacy isn't dead, you just admitted defeat.

    -0xFED

  • #2
    Originally posted by 0xFED View Post
    Last year there were some major issues with Caesars "security staff" entering attendees rooms
    sometimes, unannounced. These issues included, but were not limited to, gross Unprofessionalism
    and hostility.

    We were assured last year (nearly 3 months after the conference)
    that this would be followed up on until a "satisfactory result is achieved". We have just
    completed DEFCON China, are about to start DEFCON 27, and the results of any actions taken
    thus far are FAR, FAR, from "satisfactory". When will this be addressed?

    Caesars has yet to even provide a "policy", just a single page FAQ that seems to be an
    after thought at best.
    (https://defcon.org/images/defcon-mai...eck-policy.pdf)

    What actions have been taken against those that violated Caesars statements? How will they
    ensure that this will absolutely never happen again? When will I be able to lock my door and expect
    that “Leave me alone!” *ahem* “Do Not Disturb” is thoroughly understood?

    Additionally, while debating to book rooms for this year, no mention of such policy existed,
    even with a reasonable amount of searching. Does this mean that no room searches will be
    conducted? And anyone banging on the door claiming to be "hotel security" can be dismissed
    like a drunk in the hallway?

    Our community of experts has seen the security theater, and know that does nothing to achieve an
    increased level of security. Merely an illusion of security. It has actually introduced many more
    issues than it fixes, and makes guests feel even more uncomfortable than before. The only thing
    worse than being completely unsecured, is believing that you are.

    For a community that takes privacy and personal security seriously, this is upsetting at
    best, and shameful at worst.


    In these times privacy isn't dead, you just admitted defeat.

    -0xFED
    Thanks for the feedback. :-)

    The forums were not working for an announcement to be posted here, but there was an announcement on twitter:
    URL1=https://twitter.com/defcon/status/1055200258328715264 (thread unpacked)
    Originally posted by URL1
    @defcon
    As promised, we have an update on the issue of the Caesars room entry policy. We regret that it's taken so long to get news, but be assured we intend to stay on this until a satisfactory result is achieved.

    Caesars has shared their official room entry policy with us, and we're sharing it with you. It's a necessary step in the process, because it sets guest expectations, and it makes it clear that some of the reported behavior falls well outside of the hotel's own internal rules.

    We'll be talking with the hotel about how violations of the policies get handled, and working to create a clear and direct way for guests to get room entry information, verify inspection teams and report concerns.

    Thanks for your patience as we work through this issue. We'll share more as soon as we have news.

    https://www.defcon.org/images/defcon...eck-policy.pdf
    A copy of the PDF: (the same pdf you cited, included here for reference)
    URL2=https://www.defcon.org/images/defcon...eck-policy.pdf
    Originally posted by URL2
    [LOGO CAESAR'S ENTERTAINMENT]
    Las Vegas Room Check Policy Frequently Asked Questions

    Q:What is the room check policy at your Las Vegas properties?
    A: For safety and security, hotel team members will periodically enter guest rooms that have not been serviced or accessed by a team member for over24 hours.This includes rooms occupied by guests who have opted out of housekeeping services and/or displayed a “room occupied” sign on their door.

    Q:What will team members do during these room checks?
    A: Hotel team members will perform a brief visual check of the room(s) and bathroom(s). Room checks generally take a short amount of time. The check is not invasive and team members will not handle guest belongings.

    Q:Why do you not provide “do not disturb” signs anymore?
    A:Like many other hotel companies,Caesars Entertainment is replacing “do not disturb” signs with “room occupied” signs to better communicate our company policy of accessing guest rooms for housekeeping, maintenance, room checks or any other appropriate purpose.

    Q:If I place a“room occupied” sign on the door, will the room still be checked?
    A:Yes. Although we strive to conduct these checks at a time and in a manner that least inconveniences our guests, our team members may seek to enter even if the “room occupied” sign is displayed to conduct the check in a timely fashion. Team members will always knock and announce their presence and purpose before seeking to enter any room.

    Q:Why the change in policy?
    A:We have been enhancing our security measures throughout our properties and believe regular access to rooms furthers the safety and security of our guests and team members.

    Q:What if I refuse to let hotel team members in my room to conduct the room check?
    A:Our team members strive to conduct all hotel services, including the room check, at a time and in a manner that least inconveniences our guests. However, should our team members arrive at an inconvenient time, they will be happy to come at a better time. But continued refusal to follow any of our hotel policies and procedures, including our room check policy,could serve as grounds for eviction from the hotel.

    Q:Why was I was offered to opt-out of housekeeping services if the room will still be subject to checks?
    A:Our opt out program is intended to save resources expended with daily housekeeping services, and provide savings to guests that participate. But participation in the opt-out program is separate from our room check policy, which has been implemented to enhance the safety and security of our guests and team members.
    Some of the same information is available on the main site:
    URL3=https://www.defcon.org/html/links/dc...caesarspolicy1

    Is this information you have already read, or is this new to you?
    If this is not new to you, what questions would you like to see answered that you believe have not been answers yet?

    Originally posted by 0xFED View Post
    What actions have been taken against those that violated Caesars statements?

    How will they ensure that this will absolutely never happen again?

    When will I be able to lock my door and expect that “Leave me alone!” *ahem* “Do Not Disturb” is thoroughly understood?

    Additionally, while debating to book rooms for this year, no mention of such policy existed,
    even with a reasonable amount of searching. Does this mean that no room searches will be
    conducted?

    And anyone banging on the door claiming to be "hotel security" can be dismissed like a drunk in the hallway?
    I don't have the answers to those questions.

    If you have questions you do not think have been answered, other people probably feel the same way. Please follow-up with what information should be made more clear.


    (Included those you have provided)

    Thanks!
    Last edited by number6; June 4th, 2019, 23:19.
    6: "Who is Number1?"
    2: "You are number6"
    6: "I am not a number!..."

    Comment


    • #3

      Thanks for reminding me. . .

      Unless I hear otherwise in this thread I'll be needing to pick up a doorstop alarm so they can't walk in unannounced while someone is sleeping or in the shower, which happened to my roommate last year.

      Maybe a standalone motion activated camera to monitor the room, or even better, a decoy camera with a "Smile, you're on Camera" sign so if things go south and it gets confiscated it's not a big loss. It's the thought that counts!

      --

      On the more serious side, I question that DC has the clout to have major effects on the hotel security policies of Caesars Entertainment Inc. As things go in Las Vegas, we're not big enough.

      We're also a odd-ball demographic. Most people want their daily room service, which disables the room inspections. And when they want some privacy for long enough to trigger the security room inspections they're sheep enough to just let them in, no questions asked. I doubt they're questioned very often. I wouldn't be surprised if DC26 was the first time that bad publicity and feelings were generated by the inspections. It definitely brought out some deficiencies in their policies and procedures.

      We can hope they've realized the issues and have made some modifications. We'll wait and see.

      --

      this is all a moot point, because DEFCON is canceled!


      Comment


      • #4
        So, we finally have an update. We are waiting for more details in writing, but I have a few bits to share:
        • Security is no longer doing the room checks, instead it is in a new group inside the housekeeping department. This should make the whole thing more of a customer relationship issue than a security thing.
        • They have procedures in place for requesting a woman if only a man shows up.
        • There are items you are not allowed to use in your room, related to fire hazard, such as hot pots, soldering irons, rice cookers, camp stoves, etc. I am told that if these items are seen they will be taken from your room and stored, and you will get a call or voice mail notifying you where to come to pick them up. Apparently this policy came from people lighting candles all around the bathtub. If Housekeeping sees half burned candles out they will take them away.
        • If housekeeping or the room check crew see 50 boxes of vodka or a wall full of military cases don't be surprised if you get a visit asking what's up. It's not prohibited to have durable luggage, but hotel might be curious what your intention is with the 50 boxes of vodka.
        • There is a procedure for verifying the room check folks at your door, but I don't have that yet.
        So some good progress, but I'll have the complete pictures in a couple days. Part of the long delay is each property has had different policies and the group has been working over the past year to try and normalize everything.
        Last edited by Dark Tangent; August 1st, 2019, 15:28.
        The Dark Tangent: Use PGP for email Key ID: 0x8B0B476D
        Fingerprint: EA2B 63F9 2219 9171 2AB1 0065 FC59 8B0B 476D

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you so much for this update, DT.

          I do not know if this information is provided, but one of the questions I was trying to ask the hotel frequently last year and also when I have stayed there for other events in the past 12 months is are these room checks time-bound in some fashion? Can we reliably be assured that people will not be knocking on our doors before, say, 9 a.m. or after, say, 9 p.m.?

          if that's not possible, ok... we just want to know. But if they do have any sort of official working hours, that will be a great relief to people who would like to get some much-needed shut-eye either after staggering back from their room late or, for many of us, in between dinner and the parties. :-)
          "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
          - Trent Reznor

          Comment


          • #6
            By the way, wouldn't be doing my job as the DEFCON Shoot coordinator if I didn't remind people that storing firearms in your room at most Caesars properties is not officially allowed.

            But, I can confirm that as of this morning at least the Bally's is still offering the same "check your Firearms with security" policy that they have for many many years now. Right by the North tower elevators there is a security office and they will accept your guns. Expect them to log them in for insurance purposes and this involves writing down your name and usually the firearm make, model, and serial number. If you have that information printed in advance it may eliminate the need for them to paw through your entire Pelican case.

            The Caesars has a similar option but it's very space limited, since we learned that last year when all of their lockers were occupied and very quickly after the DEFCON Shoot and other guests were referred to the Flamingo or other properties with additional storage space.

            I'm not sure about the Paris, but if people call ahead I am certain someone in security can fill you in on what's up. :-)

            Stay safe and enjoy DEFCON, everyone!
            "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
            - Trent Reznor

            Comment


            • #7
              DT,

              Thanks for getting back to us about this important issue. I still have a number of concerns as I’m sure you do as well. Last year, there was outrage that DEFCON security did not receive information regarding this policy in time to notify attendees of the change, and I’m worried that it appears this exact same thing is happening again. This update also seems to be more “wait for more details”, we really want to see a definitive policy. To my knowledge, the community has not seen anything being done to address this.

              If housekeeping will be checking rooms not in a security role, but are instead a “customer relations” role, then what exactly are they trying to achieve? If I need something, it is well known the front desk is there to assist. Are there any negative repercussions for refusing to let ANY hotel staff in the room who were not specifically requested? Do Not Disturb is pretty clear to me.

              According to the previous FAQ (https://www.defcon.org/images/defcon-main/caesars-room-check-policy.pdf) it was stated that "The check is not invasive and team members will not handle guest belongings." this seems to conflict with "I am told that if these items are seen they will be taken from your room and stored". I can understand if there are certain items that are prohibited within rooms, however, confiscation of items without an officially published list of examples as opposed to a forum post is extremely concerning.

              Secondly, "They have procedures in place for requesting a woman if only a man shows up." Okay, what are the procedures? Don't they already know who is staying in the room?

              "There is a procedure for verifying the room check folks at your door, but I don't have that yet." Then we have no procedure.

              Several years ago there was a giant applause from the DEFCON community to those who opted for TSA pat downs when the body scanners were installed in airports. Now we have unknown people entering our rooms at will, with no published policy, and no clear method of recourse.

              Is this acceptable to you?

              -0xFED

              Comment


              • Dark Tangent
                Dark Tangent commented
                Editing a comment
                I should be able to share their document this weekend, but waiting on some minor edits and such.

            • #8
              Caesar's Policy for Room Check:
              This is the official statement we were waiting for.
              NOTE: This will be given out to people as they check in and be updated with the property specific phone number.
              NOTE: I have edited the bottom to include the correct phone numbers for each property

              ----

              Dear Valued Guest:

              Welcome to Bally’s Las Vegas. We hope you will enjoy your stay with us.

              We wanted to inform you of a hotel policy that applies to all guest rooms at our Las Vegas properties.

              In an effort to ensure the safety of our guests and employees, please know that certain hotel team members may periodically enter guest rooms to perform standard wellness checks, if – and only if – a room has not otherwise been serviced or accessed by a team member for an extended period.

              In other words, even if you have declined team member access to your room, by opting out of housekeeping services or posting a room occupied sign on your door, for example, team members may still periodically enter your room. These brief visits are intended to help us ensure that our guests and employees are safe.

              Please note that team members conducting these room checks will be wearing visible IDs. If at any time you would like to confirm the team member requesting access to your room is part of the hotel staff, please call 702-967-4481 to speak to the security supervisor on duty.

              On behalf of Caesars Entertainment and its Las Vegas properties, we appreciate your courtesy and cooperation with our team members should they visit. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

              In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Guest Services by pressing the guest services button on your phone for assistance.

              All the best for a very successful conference!

              -----

              LINQ 702-794-3150
              Flamingo 702-733-352
              Caesars Palace 702-731-7909
              Planet Hollywood 702-785-9935
              Paris Las Vegas 702-946-4481
              Bally's 702-967-4481
              Attached Files
              Last edited by Dark Tangent; August 4th, 2019, 09:54. Reason: Added phone numbers for each property
              The Dark Tangent: Use PGP for email Key ID: 0x8B0B476D
              Fingerprint: EA2B 63F9 2219 9171 2AB1 0065 FC59 8B0B 476D

              Comment


              • 0xFED
                0xFED commented
                Editing a comment
                A year late and a policy short.
                The lack of transparency, clear side stepping of simple, reasonable, questions is shameful.

                Consider my participation tentatively canceled.

                -0xFED

            • #9
              DT, I can't thank you enough for continuing to pursue this. I expect it's tedious, and there's a million other loose ends to tie up this week. It matters, and it's important. Thank you.

              I'm not very satisfied with the official response out of Caesars. I didn't have a bad encounter last year, but that's just luck, and I'm angry about the people who did. I'm not yet ready to quit over it. Con management hasn't let it drop, and neither should we. The response still leaves a lot of issues unaddressed. I think a good way to respond is to ask for answers when we check in. Politely but firmly require answers. Convey our concern about respect for our safety and property. If the desk agent doesn't have an answer, require a supervisor. EVERYONE should do this. Even if your pal at the next counter over is already asking.

              If you're present for a search, let those people know how uncomfortable it makes you, how you are not persuaded by their assurances that it's all for your safety. (How friendly you want to be about it is up to you, but definitely don't make them feel threatened.)

              It sure couldn't hurt to have a bunch of Teamsters go off shift a few hours later, all thinking about the same thing. If we don't tell them, there's no chance they'll ask their union leadership to address the shameful things they're being asked to do. ????

              Comment


              • #10
                jason77 Thank you for this reply. While we don't control the hotel owners or management we can ask for details and clarifications and keep pushing.

                One strategy people use to minimize the impact is to store stuff in locked luggage and use room cleaning when you exit your room. That resets their time counter while you are away and that the maids are the ones looking around as the clean your room and not some different group.
                The Dark Tangent: Use PGP for email Key ID: 0x8B0B476D
                Fingerprint: EA2B 63F9 2219 9171 2AB1 0065 FC59 8B0B 476D

                Comment


                • #11
                  Reporting in...

                  Checking in at Planet Hollywood on Wednesday, the desk staff wasn't well briefed on anything. Bryan (Favorite movie: The Wolf of Wall Street) was friendly and helpful, and went in the back to ask his supervisor questions he couldn't answer. I was told:

                  * Security runs the searches. They wear yellow or black shirts with embroidered badges and a plastic nametag, similar to the desk staff's tags. Call the front desk to verify their legitimacy.
                  * They will open cabinets. His manager said nothing of luggage
                  * What's not allowed: Weapons and explosives. I asked about liquor, "You can have all the liquor you want", and they had no problems with networking hardware. (Yes, he went back to the supervisor for this one!)
                  * Two days without maid service will trigger a search
                  * Hours? That's up to security.

                  AND THEN... I get to the room and the identical document DT attached here was printed and laid in front of the TV. No changes.

                  On a side note, I was at Bally's this afternoon when someone dressed like someone from housekeeping, not like security, knocked on a room claiming to be "safety room inspection". They were in and out of the unoccupied room in about a minute.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    As a data point here ...

                    I have the DND sign up. Yesterday as I came back to the room for a badly-needed power nap I passed one of the housekeepers in the hall and asked her if she could just replace the towels and the consumables, don't worry about the bed and such, and do the room inspection.

                    She came in, entered a code on the phone, brought in more towels, pulled the trash, and then punched in another code on the phone.

                    If I would have thought of it, I could have placed the netbook with the camera discreetly pointed toward the phone and let it record video of the buttons being pushed. Maybe tomorrow.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      I left surveillance cams up. I didn't get a good view of my housekeeper coding in and out, but she dialed on speaker so the DTMF was clear as day.

                      I could use those codes, but I wonder if that would create a problem for the housekeeper. Maybe their bookkeeping is loose, but if not, it could look like she was cleaning two rooms at once, or before/after her shift. I don't want to get the wrong people disciplined or fired.

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X