Airbnb removes host after family finds hidden camera in their vacation rental – USA TODAY
Searching for hidden cameras in hotel rooms and rentals is an emerging trend as more and more people report the invasion of privacy.
Airbnb says the companyÂ has removed a host from itsÂ website after a family reported finding a hidden camera in their vacation rental in Ireland.
New ZealanderÂ Nealie Barker took to Facebook Monday to share her experience, saying she and her family areÂ “avid Airbnb users.”
“We just found a camera hidden in a smoke alarm case in the private living room of a listing,” she said. “The host admitted to the concealed camera over the phone, only after presented with our irrefutable proof.”
At the time of Barker’s post, the listing was still available on the vacation rental site, and she expressed disappointment Airbnb’s response.Â
In a statement to USA TODAY Friday, Airbnb spokespersonÂ Ben Breit said the “safety and privacy of our community is our priority.”
“Airbnb policies strictly prohibit hidden cameras in listings, and we take reports of any violations extremely seriously. We have removed the host from our platform,” the statement read. “Our original handling of this incident did not meet the high standards we set for ourselves, and we have apologized to the family and fully refunded their stay. There have been over half a billion guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date and negative incidents are incredibly rare.”
Airbnb’s camera policy makes it clear that hidden cameras and other surveillance devices are prohibited. Visible cameras are also prohibitedÂ in bedrooms and bathrooms. If a hostÂ wants a camera in another area, itÂ must be disclosed.
This hasn’t stopped the problem of hidden cameras from popping up, however. FindingÂ hidden cameras in hotel rooms and other vacation rentals has been a recently emerging trend.
How can you check for hidden cameras in your next rental?
Methods forÂ checking for hidden cameras in your room include scanning for radio frequencies, lens detection and a physical search, according toÂ a technical surveillance countermeasures and intelligence expert fromÂ Advanced Operational Concepts, who goes by the nickname “The Monk.” He declined to provide his name due to the sensitivity of his work.Â Â
It could also be helpful to familiarize yourself with what hidden cameras can look like, which can be easily built in to items such as smoke detectors, alarm clocks, electrical outlets and power strips.
Contributing:Â Caroline Morse Teel, SmarterTravel.com
More tips on checking for hidden cameras: How to stay safe in your next hotel room or vacation rental