Reports Of Hidden Cameras At Airbnbs Raise Worries Of Privacy Violations

If you decide to rent an Airbnb on your next vacation, you could be secretly recorded.

A security camera points off the side of a building.
Tomasz Mikolajczyk / Pixabay

If you decide to rent an Airbnb on your next vacation, you could be secretly recorded.

Airbnb rentals are becoming increasingly popular for vacation goers, as they often cost less than a typical hotel. You can arrange to rent someone’s home during your stay, and enjoy the comforts that hotels don’t always provide. Nevertheless, security concerns are on the rise regarding these vacation rental homes, after many reports of hidden cameras being found on rental properties. This is causing customers to become increasingly paranoid, according to NBC.

Modern security cameras can be purchased in tiny form-factors, and as a result, they can be hidden just about anywhere and easily overlooked. Airbnb visitors have located cameras over beds, in devices altered to look like smoke detectors. Others have found them in light bulbs and even in bathrooms of these rental properties. This sort of discovery would make anyone uncomfortable and angry, possibly even causing them to opt for a different type of lodging for future vacations.

Despite these claims, Charlie Urbancic, a spokesperson for Airbnb, says that these incidents are actually pretty rare and that positive experiences far outweigh the negatives.

“There have been more than 400 million guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date and negative incidents are incredibly rare. 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.”

In today’s day and age, all it takes is a few people sharing their negative Airbnb experiences online to gather social media buzz, prompting many to question the industry as a whole. As NBC notes, it’s easy to forget that there are security cameras watching us throughout a large portion of our day-to-day lives. These devices are in our workplaces, in restaurants, on street corners, attached to public forms of transit, and sometimes, even on front porches. When used effectively and morally, they can aid in keeping us safe and putting our minds at ease. However, customers deserve to be informed if they are being watched in a place where they think they can relax and unwind.

Paige Blair, a performance coach from Tampa, Florida, had an unfortunate Airbnb stay where she felt her privacy had been violated. She’d be away on a business trip and was traveling alone. During her stay, she discovered two hidden cameras on the property.

“Suddenly every little tiny pin hole and every piece of sheet rock looked like a camera to me. You don’t know who you’re dealing with and frankly Airbnb doesn’t know either,” Paige explained.