A family staying at a home in Cork, Ireland, found they were being recorded with a hidden Airbnb camera (via CNN).
Airbnb has a hidden camera problem. Just searching for “hidden Airbnb camera” brings up dozens of results. Granted, it’s not necessarily Airbnb’s fault, but rather the people installing these cameras in their homes they rent out. But in this case, the family felt Airbnb didn’t take it seriously enough.
They still didn’t seem to grasp the seriousness of the issue. They were treating it like a canceled booking.Nealie Barker
Andrew Barker, father of the family, works in IT security. He found the camera after scanning the Airbnb’s Wi-Fi network. The camera was hidden inside a device that appeared to be some kind of smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector. And it was livestreaming.
Nealie Barker, the mom, called Airbnb to report it. The people she spoke to didn’t have any advice, but informed Ms. Barker that she wouldn’t get her money back if she canceled within 14 days.
Mr. Barker then called the owner of the home, and hung up after being confronted with the discovery. He called back later saying that the camera they found was the only one in house. He also refused to say whether he was recording the livestream or capturing the audio.
After staying at a local hotel and calling Airbnb a second time the next day, the company’s trust and safety team finally promised to conduct an investigation, and temporarily suspended the Airbnb listing. However, after two weeks of silence, Ms. Barker called again only to be informed that the host had been “exonerated.”
The company only permanently banned the host after the family posted the incident on Facebook and reported it to local news stations in New Zealand, where they are from.