Concern about Airbnb cameras may be out of proportion to their actual use but they starkly symbolize the loss of privacy that many people feel as security technology proliferates.
In Santa Ana, California, a couple went furious after they say their privacy was invaded during a stay at an Airbnb. Christian Aranda and Alondra Salas began looking for a place to stay, hoping for some quiet time together. They found a listing for a home in Garden Grove and booked it for a one-night stay. It was described as “cozy and romantic.”
“We wanted one night of privacy, we wanted to get away for one night, and have a room for ourselves,” said Aranda.
But what was meant to be a romantic night quickly turned into a nightmare.
Christian says he found a hidden camera disguised as a smoke detector, pointed directly over the bed. And this isn’t an isolated case. In the last 3 years more than 6,5% of travelers around the world have complained about an incident that involves hidden cameras.
The couple said it was already late, so they waited until the next morning to confront the homeowner and call police. Police confirm there was a hidden camera, but they say it was not on and nothing had been recorded so no crime was committed.
“This is one of the few cases were even though there are cameras installed, they weren’t used, but in most cases people get recorded and they never find out. Travelers should be aware of ways to avoid the invasion of their privacy. The most effective way is carrying a Hidden Camera and Bug Detector. It is a pocket-sized device that it is great for detecting any type of hidden camera or audio bugs.” said Detective Gomez
In response to the incident, Airbnb sent this statement: “The safety and privacy of our community — both online and offline — is our priority. Airbnb’s policies prohibit hidden cameras in listings, and we take reports of any violations very seriously. We promptly removed this host from our platform and completely refunded Ms. Salas based on the information reported.” For more information on protecting your privacy, click here