Is Your Airbnb Host SPYING on You?

Hidden cameras in the sink?
By Alex Firer

  • For at least the third time this year, a guest at an Airbnb has found a hidden camera in their rental’s bedroom.

    Professional archivist Jason Scott tweeted a disturbing story about his colleague’s recent Airbnb experience. He wrote “In ‘oh, that’s a thing now’ news, a colleague of mine thought it odd that there was a single ‘motion detector’ in his Airbnb in the bedroom and voila, it’s an IP camera connected to the web. (He left at 3am, reported, host is suspended, colleague got refund.)”

    An spokesperson for Airbnb told Buzzfeed News that incidents like this are “incredibly rare” and that the company has permanently banned the host. For what it’s worth, Airbnb requires hosts to disclose any surveillance devices on their property to guests, and cameras are forbidden in bedrooms and bathrooms. Despite the rule, however, that hasn’t stopped hosts who are overly paranoid or just plain creepy from trying to get away with spying.

    A few months ago we told you about a couple who found a hidden camera disguised as a smoke detector in their Airbnb in Longboat Key, Florida.

    That home’s owner, Wayne Natt, was arrested and charged with one count of video voyeurism. The Independent talked to expert Keith Roberts, who gave some tips on what to look for if you’re staying at an Airbnb.

    He says “With cameras, you should look for tiny holes, which is where the lens will be. Check common items: the back end of books, mirrors, light bulbs, house plants.” Great! The first thing I want to do on vacation is go on a three-hour scavenger hunt looking for spy equipment.

    He also advises guests to, “Turn all the lights off and shine a torch slowly into every inch of the room – any camera lenses will reflect back the light.” What would you do if you found a hidden camera in your Airbnb? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.