Are Airbnb hosts secretly recording their guests?

Here in Barcelona, Airbnb has caused quite the scandal, as the number of unlicensed flats has caused property prices to skyrocket, forcing many out of the city. The mayor has even vowed to put heavy controls on the global home-sharing company. On the world stage, however, another scandal could soon be gripping Airbnb. The next time you stay in an Airbnb apartment, you might have to check for hidden webcams.

A couple staying at an Airbnb apartment in Florida noticed that there was something not quite right with the smoke detector on the wall of their apartment. Closer examination revealed a small black hole; behind the hole was a camera that was recording HD video. You can see below just how shocked they were at this chilling discovery.

Via: ABC Action News

The owner’s explanation is even creepier. Wayne Natt, who was charged with one count of video voyeurism, said that the cameras were to record wild sex parties that he hosted and that everybody knew they were being recorded. Not only do you have to worry about being spied on at Airbnb apartments, you also have to worry about whether or not the host held an orgy the night before you arrived.

Natt claimed to switch them off whenever he had Airbnb guests staying over, but Derek Starnes examined the black hole when he was visiting with his wife, and discovered that the camera was, in fact, recording onto an SD card. Starnes claimed that the camera had captured him walking around naked.

This is by no means an isolated incident, either. A recent tweet showed a user finding an IP camera hidden in a motion detector; again, the small black dot gave it away.

Of course, Airbnb prohibits spying on guests but, in reality, with cameras being so small and easy to hide and millions of Airbnb flats all over the world, it is an extremely difficult rule to enforce. This means it is up to you to protect yourself.

How to protect yourself against hidden webcams

A camera needs a line of sight if it is too record you, which means you’ll be able to see it if it can see you. Visually inspect vents for holes or gaps. Also, a lens will reflect light, so if you are suspicious, turn off the lights and shine a flashlight on the suspicious area. If there is lens there, it’ll reflect the light. If you do find a camera secretly recording, you should contact the police immediately.

Via: Sophos and ABC Action News

Follow me on Twitter: @PatrickDevaney_

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