When a British couple found what appeared to be a hidden camera inside a bedside alarm clock in their Airbnb room, they did not know what to think.
Was it paranoia? Was this really a camera? But all the clues said yes. A small cord protruding from behind revealed a battery back-up. That itself was not the smoking gun, but aroused further suspicion. Upon closer examination they found what clearly appeared to be a camera embedded in the alarm clock.
Isn’t that disturbing? The fact that it 1.) had a battery back-up 2.) was a clock that featured wireless transmission capabilities and 3.) was pointed toward the bed in a non-auspocous way paints a circumstantial case against the host.
Airbnb swiftly suspended the account of the property owner, who apparently has many Airbnb properties:
We have removed the host from the platform while we investigate and are providing the guest with our full support. We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero tolerance policy for this behavior.
Toronto police are also investigating the incident.
This camera appears to be a popular and inexpensive nanny cam widely available across the web.
The issue hits close to home for me. Back in high school there was a pig named Roger Gallardo who hid a webcam in the restroom outside his classroom, filming many of his female students as they changed into smocks for his pottery class. Peeping Toms are disgusting and should be jailed and ostracized.
While this all could be a harmless misunderstanding, Airbnb is right to remove the host from the platform while investigating the matter. I hope the investigation reveals no wrongdoing, but somehow I doubt it.
What would you do if you found a hidden camera in your Airbnb or hotel room? Would you confront the owner? Or just call Airbnb?