“So this is creepy,” writes a Forbes cybersecurity reporter, saying Airbnb “has put aside the stories of hosts secretly spying on guests” to promote a new line of devices Forbes calls “surveillance bugs to make sure guests behave.”
As part of its “party prevention” campaign, the home-sharing service is offering discounts on devices designed to alert hosts when there’s an irregular level of noise in their homes… An email I received on Thursday from Airbnb (I’ve occasionally rented out my apartment) told me to “plan ahead to protect your home from unauthorized parties” and offered special discounts on “three of the top party prevention devices.” The devices with the discounts range in price from $52 to $265.
Websites for the three devices state that they monitor homes 24/7, can alert homeowners if anything unusual appears to be happening, and note that they don’t record audio…. “[T]he devices detect issues in real time, keeping your property safe and your relationship with neighbors strong, all while protecting your guests’ privacy,” the email from Airbnb said. Airbnb stipulates that hosts must make guests aware that their homes are equipped with the noise surveillance devices — a policy that was reiterated to me by an Airbnb spokesman…
Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, an U.S. organization that advocates for digital rights, said the party prevention campaign speaks to a broader trend of living under constant surveillance. “Certainly a device that only measures an increase in noise is better than having internet-connected surveillance cameras or listening devices in your home,” she said.
“But we’re hurtling toward a world where almost everything we own is monitoring us in some way, and I’m not sure that’s actually going to be a safer world.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.