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Why do hotels collect passport data anyway?

Benjamin Braddock begins his affair with Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate by nervously checking into a hotel under the name Mr. Gladstone. After all, in our cultural imagination, booking a room in a hotel is a refuge for anonymity, and often, the vice that comes along with it. But that’s certainly not the case today — if it ever was, beyond the silver screen.

On Friday, Marriott provided an update on the 4-years-long data breach of its Starwood database announced in November. In the breach, hackers were able to access the *unencrypted* passport numbers of more than 5 million hotel guests.

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