Are you being filmed in your vacation digs? Suddenly, this is a concern faced by travelers when booking accommodations in hotels, vacation rentals and Airbnbs.
Recently in the news – a crackdown in South Korea where 1,600 hotel guests were being live-streamed from 30 budget hotels across 10 cities. And in the past few weeks, several reports have surfaced of hidden cameras in Airbnbs, including one where a New Zealand family discovered themeselves being live-streamed from a property in Cork, Ireland.
Although shocking, this isn’t the first time news in this vein has put the public on alert. Back in 2008, sportscaster and Dancing with the Stars host Erin Andrews learned she’d been filmed in Nashville-, Columbus- and Ohio-based hotels by a stalker. In a 2016 trial, Andrews was awarded $55 million, with a jury finding both the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University and stalker at fault.
Don’t put your suitcase away just yet. Airbnb is taking actions and reassuring travelers of the safety of booking accommodations through their site.
“There have been more than a half a billion guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date and negative incidents are incredibly rare,” an Airbnb spokesperson told Parentology. “We have strict policies regarding the proper disclosure of security cameras and take reports of any violations extremely seriously. The safety and privacy of our community is our priority.”
Since its inception, Airbnb has had set rules for electronic surveillance devices which extend to both hosts and guests. Among them, cameras aren’t allowed in private spaces, i.e. bathrooms, bedrooms and other sleeping areas (this includes dens with pullout couches). Accepted devices on properties must be clearly visible.
Just last year, Airbnb expanded its policy against undisclosed, hidden cameras saying, “In early 2018, we launched a new feature for hosts to easily and prominently disclose any surveillance devices in their home when listing their space on Airbnb. When creating or editing a listing, if a host selects that they have a device in their home, that information is automatically included in the house rules that a guest sees — and must explicitly acknowledge and agree to — before booking the home.”
The best way to sleep easy at night? Boning up on how to detect hidden cameras and ways to block them will lead to some solid zzzs.