After elderly tenant was locked in his apartment by his landlord's stupid "smart lock," tenants win right to use actual keys to enter their homes

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“The door refused to open. It said, “Five cents, please.”

He searched his pockets. No more coins; nothing. “I’ll pay you tomorrow,” he told the door. Again he tried the knob. Again it remained locked tight. “What I pay you,” he informed it, “is in the nature of a gratuity; I don’t have to pay you.”
“I think otherwise,” the door said. “Look in the purchase contract you signed when you bought this conapt.”
In his desk drawer he found the contract; since signing it he had found it necessary to refer to the document many times. Sure enough; payment to his door for opening and shutting constituted a mandatory fee. Not a tip.
“You discover I’m right,” the door said. It sounded smug.
From the drawer beside the sink Joe Chip got a stainless steel knife; with it he began systematically to unscrew the bolt assembly of his apt’s money-gulping door.
“I’ll sue you,” the door said as the first screw fell out.
Joe Chip said, “I’ve never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live through it.”

― Philip K. Dick, [Ubik]


One of these words is wrong: “smart home”.


So they give you a card key, like a hotel room.

The fun really starts when landlords can lock you out of your apartment immediately, without calling a locksmith and having to wait, at their whim. Then they can just unlock it if anyone else comes to check and blame the tenant.


If they remember to also turf the audit logs.


insert coin

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I just moved into a apartment that has a code-key door lock. I had to be pretty insistent about getting the physical key to the backdoor. Landlord had to actually look through his key-ring of 100 keys to find it. Madness I tell you. What if there was an emergency and the fucking lock is out of batteries? Luckily, my lock can be manually operated from inside at least (unlike some designs) but that wont help you get into the apartment.


Unless it’s for a cabin or summer home, I can’t imagine using any of these IOT programs. Being able to turn the heat up on the cabin so you don’t arrive to a 50 degree cabin and have to make a fire and sleep with a hat on, that seems worth it, otherwise, why would you give up the privacy? Madness.

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I keep telling people “I don’t want to make my phone into a single-point-of-failure” and people keep looking at me like I’m nuts.


With the app came an extensive privacy policy that allowed Latch to use data it collected for marketing and gave permission to take GPS information. McKenzie didn’t want to use the app to get in, and raised issues with her landlord.

“I said I don’t want to be tracked, and he laughed,” the 72-year-old artist said.

Oh, wow! I think this is one of the instructors over at the Art Students League. She’s awesome.


So far, the only “smart home” products I’ve seen that actually do things right are IKEA’s TRÅDFRI gear. They do not depend on having some “cloud” service running and don’t open holes in your firewall, and the app, by design, only talks to the gateway via Wi-Fi.

If you really want to access it remotely, you’d need either your own VPN (such as OpenVPN) or a Home Assistant server on your LAN, and a dynamic DNS service.

If you insist, you could integrate it with Alexa or HomeKit as well, but that’s not done by default.


I was planning on getting their automatic blinds when they come out later this year in part because of their approach. If a “smart home” product depends on having a cloud account with a company that could go out of business or can only stay in business by selling reports about my behaviour I’m not really interested.


Moral of the story is “don’t f’ with old folks”.


Is someone fucking with you now?


IoT = Idiot of Things


Lisa Gallaudet, an attorney representing the landlords, insists that this is not a “victory” for the tenants

“You can’t quit me, I’m fired!” - Lisa Gallaudet, paid advocate of asshole landlords.




Is someone fucking with you now?

I think thats true for all of us, most of the time.


I have a bunch of electronic power switches in my flat, linked to google home. Its fun to ask google to turn stuff on and off. But I had to spend half of Easter Friday talking to google support to get it all working. In the end I found the solution but the support person gave me some hints.

Its possible for me to do that because I work with large scale distributed systems in my day job. I have the background to visualise the connections between a gadget in my house and software running at multiple external organisations, just to apply power to a relay.

But my mother has no hope. She will never be able to get one of these things working, even though the IOT device came from the hardware store, and she is fine using most of the things which came from the same store.

So right now, devices like this are mainly for people who want to tinker.


Am I to understand that there’s not a physical way to open it manually from the inside? I don’t see how that could possibly comply with the fire code, or even the vaguest nod towards common sense.


They could install the same locks the USS Discovery has on her brig, where you can pass if you manage to win an ethical argument with it. I remember watching that and I couldn’t even be mad about it because it seemed so completely absurd. It’s starting to look less far-fetched.