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People Keep Finding Hidden Cameras In Their Airbnbs And There's Only So Much The Company Can Do

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Another Airbnb guest has found hidden cameras in their rental home — this time disguised as motion detectors — raising questions as to what the platform and its customers can do to ensure privacy.

 

The short-term leasing service defended itself after a particularly viral tweet erupted online last week, showing a "motion detector" found in an Airbnb home that, upon closer inspection, was actually a camera.

 

With over 20,000 retweets, hundreds of people replied to American archivist Jason Scott's tweet. Scott, whose unnamed colleague was the person who actually uncovered the secret IP (internet protocol) camera, included photos of the device.

 

Airbnb spokesperson Jeff Henry told BuzzFeed News this type of incident was "incredibly rare" and that the company had permanently banned the host from its community. A full refund was also offered to the guest.

 

"Cameras are never allowed in bathrooms or bedrooms; any other cameras must be properly disclosed to guests ahead of time," Henry said.

 

This incident is one of several accounts of unsavoury Airbnb surveillance in recent years.

 

In October, an Indiana couple visiting Florida discovered a hidden camera disguised as a smoke detector in their Airbnb's master bedroom.

 

Earlier that same year Airbnb was forced to investigate and suspend a Montreal listing after one of the renters discovered a camera in the bedroom of the property.

 

As part of the company's own policy, Airbnb hosts must fully disclose any security cameras on the listing and get consent where required.

 

In some cases, people say they have been afraid to come forward after finding hidden cameras in their rented Airbnbs, because they had shared personal information with the host.

 

BuzzFeed News spoke with two people who allege they found hidden cameras in their Airbnbs. One did not want their name disclosed publicly, or to push the matter further with Airbnb, because they were scared of the host.

 

"I would love to see Airbnb take this seriously, but not if it means bringing that stress back into our lives," they said.

 

The other accuser, a woman named Erin, recounted the tumultuous process she says she went through after discovering a hidden camera in the bedroom of an Airbnb in Houston, Texas, earlier this year.

 

After arriving at the rental and finding the camera, Erin texted friends about it but did not immediately report the matter to Airbnb. "I don't know what I was thinking, I was just so tired," she said.

 

Erin continued to stay at the Airbnb and encountered no problems, but within an hour of checking out she received a message saying the host had accused her of causing damage.

 

The host said Erin had thrown a party, trashed the place, and also mentioned she had unplugged security cameras.

 

"Because he reported me for damage they just treated it like I was trying to get out of paying," she said.

 

But the host's admission that there were security cameras in the property allowed Erin to push the matter further.

 

Full article
 

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11 minutes ago, Colabamumbai said:

Company should be put out of business.

 

why, you dont think holiday lettings, tripadvisor,  flipkey etc dont have douchy hosts as well?

this has nothing to do with airbnb, they are the middleman, and cannot possibly know when a host is putting up cameras.

as far as airbnb goes, they have made me a significant amount of cash over the years, certainly had a better experience with them as a host than any of the services mentioned above.

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19 minutes ago, HooHaa said:

 

why, you dont think holiday lettings, tripadvisor,  flipkey etc dont have douchy hosts as well?

this has nothing to do with airbnb, they are the middleman, and cannot possibly know when a host is putting up cameras.

as far as airbnb goes, they have made me a significant amount of cash over the years, certainly had a better experience with them as a host than any of the services mentioned above.

100% correct. It's nothing to do with the company as it has a policy that homeowners must disclose cameras.

The company does not own any of the properties, so why do some people claim it's anything to do with them?

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10 minutes ago, thaibeachlovers said:

100% correct. It's nothing to do with the company as it has a policy that homeowners must disclose cameras.

The company does not own any of the properties, so why do some people claim it's anything to do with them?

Just as any other company providing a service they should have responsibilities for what they market.

It will eventually happen as more and more problems happen.

There is a lot of risk to people renting and to the renter in the way this all works and it will eventually be regulated.

Why should Airbnb be allowed to claim that it is nothing to do with them.

If somebody rents and copies the key(s) then who is liable when a subsequent renter gets robbed or worse because somebody got in with the keys. How would anybody know?

Surprised that it has not already started to happen / get reported. Easier for theives than trying to break into somewhere.

I have rented enough times through airbnb, and I warn anybody doing so that they need to have particular concerns to beware of safety or security if it is not the owner that is renting out.

 

It should also be noted that in theory Airbnb should not be allowed to advertise apartments for short let in Thailand ( less than 30 days)

It is illegal to do so. Therefore they are  facilitating illegal business.

It is readily obvious on airbnb that there are people advertising multiple properties who will not be registered as a business, and donot own the property. They may have no care for veracity / safety of the property.

Eventually the Thai authorities will clamp down. Its been going on long enough.
 

 

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A lot of people enjoy a little voyeurism .

What about microphones in the room ?

What about camera's in hotel rooms ( placed by some employees ) ?

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Very simple, the owners put cams because they want to check if somebody is entering with copied  keys...problem solved further renters are safe....what's next

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3 minutes ago, toofarnorth said:

I only came on here to see what a Airbnbs is ....................still no wiser

Room renting by individuals to individuals on the internet.

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1 hour ago, decca60 said:

Very simple, the owners put cams because they want to check if somebody is entering with copied  keys...problem solved further renters are safe....what's next

This would not solve the Problem for the renter unfortunately. A long way from it. 

Likely only beneficial to the party renting for claim against the renter as he chooses to use it.

 

1. The video may not show how people actually entered the door from outside. You left the door unlocked.

Even if there was video, it may be inadmissible as evidence as the recording may be considered illegal.

There is also no way of knowing who copied the keys and therefore was responsible.

Can you stay longer while your claim is investigated,  or while you may be accused of any loss.

 

2. If you are renting and have things stolen because somebody gets into the place, how are you going to get the people charged and get them back. How do you know it wasn't people responsible for the property?

Most short stay places tend to have maids doing cleaning.

You cannot claim  against anybody. There are no responsibilities defined. Insurances will not be valid.

 

Are you going to take up a lot of your vacation going to get police reports, evidence, etc. and who are you claiming against?

Do you think the renter will care.

Perhaps if he had things stolen he is likely to claim that it was your fault, as you left the door unlocked.

If he isn't supposed to have any camera operating then why would he want to show anything.

He shows pictures of what was in the apartment and what is missing. You are responsible.

 

The renter would appear to have a problem, whatever the circumstances.

 

These kind of considerations may start to explain to people the risks in this for renters.

 

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BANGKOK 12 December 2017 03:45
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