around the world

In houses with Airbnb, hidden surveillance cameras are again found. They are hidden in smoke detectors and gadgets.

Owners have to talk about surveillance in advance, but some customers encounter service errors and deficiencies in the owners.

Apartment rooms on the Airbnb with a camera in the left corner. Photo of Jeffrey Bigham
Apartment rooms on the Airbnb with a camera in the left corner. Photo of Jeffrey Bigham

The family found the cameras in the house – the owner did not write about them

On New Year’s holidays, Jeffrey Bigham, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, went with his family to Seattle. There he rented a house using Airbnb. About a day later, the American discovered two Wi-Fi surveillance cameras — he was “in shock” and immediately turned them off.

“I don’t think we did something especially strange in front of this camera, but it’s very possible that my two-year-old son was running naked in front of her. The camera covered the space near the exit from the bathroom, ”said Bigham. Then the father of the family rechecked the page at home on Airbnb, on which it was claimed that the cameras are only “at the entrance”. But not in the rooms.

The lodger contacted Airbnb support, where he was told that the landlord did not break any rules. As Bigham explained,a single photo with one camera (higher in the material) was enough to disclose information about two cameras – that is, the entire system of internal surveillance. But when choosing apartments, the client did not understand what kind of “white ball” was hanging near the ceiling. According to him, the camera was easily confused with a smoke detector or a “very strange” lamp.

The story did not end there: Airbnb relayed to the host that the client had asked for video surveillance. In response, the owner sent a friend to check and left the guests a negative review. The owner of the house also accused the guest of dismantling the security system and “trying to hide something” on the eve of the New Year. Bigham said that he was not obliged to report, but still explained to the owner that the spouses were tired of the children every day and went to bed around 21:00

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I’m not sure what the lesson can be learned here, but it was scary. Known about the terrible cases where the hosts violated the rules of confidentiality. For example, people found cameras hidden in alarm clocks near the bed.[/perfectpullquote] [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I feel that our case makes us treat this even more wary. If you find a truly hidden camera in your bedroom or bathroom, Airbnb will support you. And if you find a camera not indicated by the host in the living room, Airbnb will not support you.[/perfectpullquote]
Jeffrey bigham
Airbnb client

Trade Bighema Twitter zavirusilsya , after which the complaint drew the attention of the representative of Airbnb. The service reviewed the client’s case and agreed that the owner did not disclose the camera information properly. “It seems that their position is that they didn’t understand me or were mistaken in technical support,” the American noted. As reported by Fast Company, the customer will receive a full refund.

Guests are not the first to notice the surveillance in the apartments with Airbnb

In September 2018, a pair of Scots discovered surveillance in an apartment rented in Toronto. 20 minutes after the check in, the guests found a hidden camera in the clock near the bed.

A man and a woman from Glasgow called the police and sent a complaint to Airbnb. The representative of the service advised to choose one of the nearby expensive hotels and promised to reimburse all costs.

The camera in the clock Photo Daily Record
The camera in the clock Photo Daily Record

In August 2017, a couple from Taiwan found two hidden cameras in an apartment that is located in the city of Kaohsiung. One of them was in the bathroom, the other – in the bedroom: both worked under the guise of a smoke detector. Airbnb apologized to the couple, returned all the money and deleted the owner account.

Hidden camera in an apartment in Kaohsiung Photos AsiaWire

CMI has repeatedly drawn up instructions on how to find a hidden camera in an accommodation shot at Airbnb. In general, guests are advised to look around well upon arrival, scan the apartment for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi cameras (there are special applications ) and pay attention to unusual gadgets (like the same electronic clock).

Detected in the bedroom camera, hidden in a smoke detector

Airbnb has a set of rules on surveillance systems.

Bigham said he does not refuse to use Airbnb. According to him, the next time he will carefully study all the photos, or at least ask the owner once again to confirm that there are no surveillance cameras in the house.

According to the standards of Airbnb, placing cameras in housing is allowed, but with a number of restrictions. The site has published rules regarding electronic surveillance systems – including Wi-Fi cameras, video and baby monitors, webcams in monitors, as well as smartphones with audio and video functions.

What should the landlord do

  • Before booking, indicate how many video surveillance devices are in the dwelling or next to it and exactly where they are located. Otherwise there will be at least a fine;
  • Specify whether video surveillance is installed, even if it is not turned on or not connected;
  • To place cameras only in certain areas – it is prohibited to do this in the bedroom and bathroom, even if you inform the guest in advance;

What should the guest do

  • Make sure that the owner before booking a housing told about the video surveillance in the house. If he reports this after booking, you can cancel it and get a full refund;
  • Do not follow the owner and third parties in the housing (for example, if everyone rents around the room in the apartment). In the event of a breach, Airbnb may temporarily block or delete an account.
Back to top button