In recent months there’s been a number of alarming reports of Airbnb hosts installing hidden cameras in their properties but not disclosing them to the guests staying there. Back in January Fast Company reported on a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University who discovered two hidden cameras recording him and his family in an Airbnb. And just last month The Atlantic reported on a New Zealand family who was renting an Airbnb in Ireland and found they were being live-streamed from a hidden security camera.
Unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents and in response to increasing reports of guests finding hidden cameras in their Airbnb rentals, Airbnb says they are cracking down on hosts who don’t disclose hidden cameras in their property listings.
Keep an eye out for any odd-looking gadgets
Let’s start with the most basic deterrent: keep your eyes open for any odd-looking gadgets in your Airbnb. Gadgets that look bulky or out of place in their surroundings may contain a hidden camera.
Admittedly, it’s not the easiest thing to spot a gadget containing a hidden camera that looks out of place, because cameras have become so small, they can be hidden in virtually any device—and ones anyone can buy on Amazon. Here’s just a small sample of the types of devices you can buy on Amazon with cameras hidden in them: alarm clocks, wall clocks, smoke detectors, plants, mirrors, light bulbs, speakers, and even USB wall plugs.
Still, if you see an alarm clock in a bathroom or some other place you wouldn’t expect one to be, that could be a tip-off that something is amiss. Similarly, if you see any devices, such as a USB wall plug pointed directly at a bed or shower, something could be up.
When trying to visually spot gadgets with hidden cameras, keep an eye out for devices that have a clean, unobstructed line of sight.