Bad News for Those Who Like Privacy & Airbnb

There have been an increase of posts and complaints about Airbnb hosts hiding small cameras throughout their property and filming guests without their knowledge. It’s not super surprising since you can buy a small wireless camera for about $200, but many people don’t think to ask or check for something like a hidden camera in their rental. It’s not explicitly against Airbnb’s policies, and depending on your state laws it’s possible hosts could lie to you if asked about the presence of hidden cameras.

Of course there are a few different ways to check and see if there is a hidden camera in your room. The most obvious method is to look. Move things around, check to see if you can see anything on your own. It’s easy to point the camera away, cover it up, or unplug it once it’s found. The next method would be to use a signal detector to find any electronic devices. The problem with this method is that unless you have a fairly expensive unit you’ll pick up EVERY electronic signal in the room or house. In other words, you could spend a good deal of time chasing false positives. There is a third option, but it only works on Dropcam and Withings devices. It’s simply a script that you would run to disable any cameras on the network. Of course, the other drawback to this option is that it may not legal thanks to recent changes by the FCC that prohibit hotel operators from having hidden cameras. If all else fails, you could of course just disconnect the router and modem when not using them. Hopefully the home isn’t running anything important on the network!

The safest option though would likely be to spend the extra few dollars a night for a real hotel. Hotels run under much stricter standards than Airbnb. They can’t kidnap you or record you sleeping, and at some of the best ones, there is no human interaction to check in and out.

2 Comments

  1. Absolutely awesome post I was trying to explain why AirBnb isn’t as great as my friends think it is, but they wouldn’t listen. Now I can add this all to my argument.

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