Friday 23 August 2019

Beware the plague of hidden cameras

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Stock picture
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

We would never accept a video camera in our hotel room. We shouldn't in an Airbnb either.

Yet hidden cameras are a recurring plague for the tech company and its guests.

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Some 'hosts' (property owners) claim they're there to prevent feckless guests from trashing the place. But in an age of increasing concern over personal privacy rights, they leave a very sour taste.

Officially, Airbnb's rules say a 'host' can put a video camera in some parts of a property, such as the living room or kitchen. But if they do, this has to be clear to a customer that it's there at the time the rental is booked.

And cameras are never allowed to be placed in "private" spaces, such as a bathroom or a bedroom.

If a landlord secretly puts one in without saying, a guest is entitled to a full refund. With privacy law tightening up, they may also decide to take further legal action.

The problem for many people is: how would you know? Today, a whole host of smaller cameras are marketed specifically highlighting their "discretion" and ability to blend into the background.

And Airbnb hosts are repeatedly using them. The company needs to be much better at dealing with problems like this.

Irish Independent

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