A woman from Germany is suing Airbnb after she rented an apartment in California using the website and was filmed as she walked naked in the home. Edith Schumacher says she rented the apartment in Irvine, California, from the Airbnb website for a month-long vacation in 2013. However, after walking around the home naked on multiple occasions and having “intimate conversations” about their relationship, the distraught woman says she found a hidden camera underneath a pile of candles and noted that the camera was switched on. Now Schumacher is suing Airbnb and the homeowners for negligence and emotional distress caused by the video recording.
— The Verge (@verge) December 21, 2015
The Daily Mail reports that Edith Schumacher is suing Airbnb and the homeowners of an apartment she rented in 2013 after she discovered a hidden camera recording her in the apartment. The woman says she rented the apartment for a month-long vacation and stayed in the home with her partner Kevin Stockton. The German woman says that she and her partner slept naked each night, and sometimes walked around the home naked during their stay. They also held intimate conversations about their relationship, all before realizing they were being video recorded without their knowledge. Schumacher says she found a hidden camera underneath a stack of candles that was switched on and fears that the video will eventually be posted online. The woman is now suing Airbnb for negligence, and the homeowners for emotional distress. Airbnb notes that the use of video surveillance must be disclosed in the home listing, and that those renting the property must be made aware of the surveillance devices on the property. Additionally, California law dictates that all parties being videoed in a setup such as Airbnb must be informed of surveillance equipment. The law specifically states that if both parties are not informed of the recording, it is illegal.
— Michael Cook, LPI (@PrvtInvestig8r) December 20, 2015
Though Airbnb would not comment directly on the Edith Schumacher case, they did note that they take privacy violations very seriously.
“Airbnb takes privacy issues extremely seriously. All hosts must certify that they comply with all applicable laws in their locations and are of course expected to respect the privacy of their guests. Airbnb warns hosts to fully disclose whether there are security cameras or other surveillance equipment at or around the listing and to get consent where required.”
Airbnb also notes the importance of guest privacy and surveillance disclosure on their website noting that the video should be disclosed to the guest before arrival. However, the company is also quick to point out that they do not offer legal advice to hosts or guests on the subject and that hosts are responsible for following state laws.
“We expect hosts to respect their guests’ privacy. Although we can’t provide you with specific legal advice, the use of surveillance equipment may violate the law in your jurisdiction. Notify your guests about any security cameras or other surveillance devices at or around your listing and get consent where required.”
Woman sleeps in the nude in her Airbnb rental, finds hidden camera, files lawsuit – https://t.co/vURopI1cvJ
— Mashable (@mashable) December 19, 2015
The lawsuit notes that Schumacher was horrified when she found the hidden camera on her third day of her stay, and that she now constantly fears the images or video will be published online without her consent. The owners of the Irving apartment were listed as Fariah Hassim and Jamil Jiva in the lawsuit, and are being sued for the emotional distress inflicted on Schumacher for the video recordings taken without her consent.
Do you think Airbnb was neglectful in the Edith Shumacher case or should the apartment hosts be held fully responsible for the illegal recordings? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
[Image via Airbnb]