Airbnb launches a range of surveillance bugs to narc on the cool kids having parties

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To ensure that short-time renters don’t utterly trash your spare room, Airbnb has taken steps to provide you with peace of mind as they launch their own brand of spy tech to help keep an eye on guests in a way that’s only slightly creepy.

Admit it, when using an Airbnb you’ve at some point thought of treating the whole thing like a rockstar saddled with their own private room. The temptation to go on an absolute bender in Mr and Mrs van Berg’s guest cottage is often too strong and before you know it you’re throwing chairs into the pool and performing your favourite wrestling moves on the couch. We’ve all been there, right? Well, Airbnb is sick of your nonsense! Get yourself under control! If you won’t at least do that, then you’ve unfortunately forced their hand.

Airbnb is launching their own range of surveillance devices to ensure that hosts don’t have to put up their naughty guests throwing parties or just acting utterly reckless. “We want to help you protect your space, maintain the privacy of your guests, and preserve your relationship with neighbors,” Airbnb says on its website. “This means helping you detect issues in real time.”

Labelled “party prevention” devices, they come in three variations with price ranging from $100 to $150 alongside a subscription fee of nothing to $10 per month depending on how many properties you have registered with Airbnb. The three variations have different features with the most basic device, the Minut device monitoring “noise, temperature, motion (and) humidity” while also functioning as an alarm when the space is unoccupied.

The NoiseAware is a little more robust, monitoring for all of the above as well as sustained noise to really stick it to those naughty party animals. According to the website, the NoiseAware has already protected over 700,000 residences from potential parties, making it the peak in narc hardware. The last variation, the Roomonitor provides “real time noise control for Short Term Rentals,” so that you can “avoid potential problems before they occur with alerts direct to your phone and your guest’s phones”.

It’s worth noting that while Airbnb is launching these “party prevention” devices they aren’t actually endorsing them, rather relying on Airbnb user’s recommendations. It seems strange to us that they aren’t officially endorsing them yet are providing them a space on their official website, even going so far as to provide them with time-limited discounts.

In any case, Airbnb has made it clear that the use of these devices is only under the condition that their presence be fully disclosed to the renter. They can’t record audio or video, can’t be installed in bedrooms or bathrooms and can’t be hidden so as to provide a certain level of transparency. Despite these regulations, it’s difficult to feel entirely comfortable with the idea. We’ve all seen enough movies to know that bugging a room is a little shady, but maybe it’s less shady if you just tell the person it’s happening. Still, a little dystopian for our taste.

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I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.

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