Airbnb Has Surveillance Device Suggestions

Ever wonder what those pesky renters are up to? Wonder no more with handy surveillance devices that are smoke alarms - for noise.

There’s an interesting privacy debate around the use of these devices. They enable property owners to protect their assets and do not have the ability to capture audio of video or provide a live stream. But, on the other hand, any such surveillance will be a red line for some, evidence of an encroaching surveillance society. And there is always a risk that endorsed surveillance devices might encourage hosts to deploy their own technology, without safeguards and transparency.

From Airbnb’s perspective, there are strict rules that go with these promoted devices: The tech is not to be hidden. Renters should be informed where they are in place—everything should be open and transparent. No devices should be installed in bedrooms or bathrooms. And the devices do not record audio or video.

Science fiction authors described the idea of having remote monitoring in your home at least forty years ago. In their excellent 1981 novel Oath of Fealty, writers Pournelle and Niven describe Monitored In-Home Security:

The TV screen flicked to show a kitchen. A small boy was pulling things out of cabinets, scattering flour on the floor... Blake reached forward to a button under the screen... "Ma'am, this is Central Security. Somebody pushed the panic button in the kitchen and I think you'd better have a look..."

He waited. On the screen above, a woman... came into the kitchen, looked down in horror, and shouted "Peter!"

Then she looked up with a smile and moved closer to the camera. "Thank you, Officer," she said.

Via Forbes.

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