Are you being watched? Airbnb family finds hidden camera in holiday home

A New Zealand family were on the Irish leg of a 14-month Euro-trip when they discovered they were being both recorded and live-streamed by a hidden video camera that was posing as a smoke detector.

By
April 7, 2019 09:37
2 minute read.
A 3D printed people's models are seen in front of a displayed Airbnb logo in this illustration taken

A 3D printed people's models are seen in front of a displayed Airbnb logo in this illustration taken, June 8, 2016. (photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)

Have you ever had the feeling of being watched? That your life may be a real life version of The Truman Show?

Well, Airbnb is once again in the hot seat. This time for concerns over its quality assurance, which is being seriously questioned after a hidden camera was found by a family staying in one of its listings in Ireland.

According to a CNN report, a New Zealand family were on the Irish leg of a 14-month Euro-trip when they discovered they were being both recorded and live-streamed by a hidden video camera that was posing as a smoke detector.

Father, Andrew Barker was staying at the property with his wife, Nealie, their four children and a niece when the shocking discovery was made.

He told CNN that he was running a scan of the Wi-Fi network, and while running a group of routine tests such as checking the Wi-Fi strength and security, he found that the smoke detector was in fact hiding a camera that was live-streaming their every move.

Andrew called the owner of the home who immediately hung up after it was revealed that he knew about the cameras adding that the man did call back later saying there was "only one camera" in the home and that was it. Nealie said that the owner wouldn't give them any more information even when asked how and why the live-stream was being used.

She said that the discovery "was a really horrible feeling," adding that they "didn't feel relieved" following the owners admission of guilt.

The family said that Airbnb was not much help on the matter charging that they failed "to listen properly" to their concerns or understand "the seriousness of the matter."

"They were treating it like a canceled booking,” Nealie added.

Only once story received major publicity through the media and on social media, did Airbnb finally ban the host for his actions.

In a statement sent to CNN, Airbnb said that “the safety and privacy of our community — both online and offline — is our priority."

"Airbnb policies strictly prohibit hidden cameras in listings and we take reports of any violations extremely seriously," the group said emphasizing that "we have permanently removed this bad actor from our platform.”

It also acknowledged that the "original handling of this incident did not meet the high standards we set for ourselves, and we have apologized to the family and fully refunded their stay."

"There have been over half a billion guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date and negative incidents are incredibly rare,” it concluded.


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