Airbnb gets serious about party prevention with new anti-party sensors

Airbnb is encouraging its hosts to install noise-detecting “party sensors” in their latest effort to curb parties.

February 26, 2020

Last week, Airbnb began offering its hosts discounts on “three of the top party prevention devices.”

The company claims these little party poopers are a non-intrusive way to keep pesky parties at bay, but some security critics and consumers aren’t comfortable with the bite-sized surveillance devices.

Airbnb’s got a party problem, and now it’s pulling out all the stops 

Airbnb has always banned unauthorized parties at its properties, but it has long struggled to enforce its rules.

After a deadly shooting in an Airbnb last year, the company explicitly banned “party houses” and resolved to “combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct.”

The company also improved its own internal party-policing system to flag high-risk reservations, created a “party house” rapid-response team, and stiffened the penalties for violators. 

And now it’s subsidizing surveillance systems

Airbnb explains on its dedicated party prevention page that these devices are meant to protect properties, maintain privacy for guests, and preserve friendly neighbor relationships.

Instead of introducing its own privacy products, Airbnb is offering deep discounts on 3 top-rated 3rd-party products:

  • Minut, $99 (normally $149) 
  • NoiseAware, $149 (normally $199) 
  • Roomonitor, $39 (normally $165) 

All 3 monitor noise, which Airbnb sees as “a leading indicator of property misuse.”

Minut also monitors temperature, motion, and humidity (although no one has yet explained how humidity is related to party prevalence… ).

But some (party?) people aren’t pleased

Airbnb assures consumers that none of these devices record sounds, they merely measure them.

But some critics still aren’t comfortable with the increased surveillance.

Evan Greer, the deputy director of the digital-rights organization Fight for the Future, told Vice that a measurement-only device is certainly better than “internet-connected surveillance cameras or listening devices in your home.” 

“But we’re hurtling toward a world where almost everything we own is monitoring us in some way,” she said. “And I’m not sure that’s actually going to be a safer world.”

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