Checking if an accommodation has hidden video surveillance cameras in the different rooms is not an easy task. At least, this is shown by a viral video from TikTok, where the user walks through his room in an Airbnb in search of objects that hide a small camera to monitor their movements. This represents a significant privacy problem and, in addition, a breach of the platform’s rules.
Airbnb has assured The Washington Post that they are specific events. The rules of the platform establish that it is forbidden to place video surveillance cameras unless they are correctly visible and are properly marked. They are also prohibited in private spaces, such as bathrooms or bedrooms. The viral video from TikTok, however, shows different cameras located in the room. One of the lenses, in fact, is placed just above the bed.
The video shows a very useful trick to find out if there is a hidden camera in an object inside the Airbnb. Is about use the smartphone’s flashlight to expose the reflection of the sensor. However, Jeremy Prout, Director of Security Solutions at International SOS emphasizes that this practice is not always reliable. So it also offers some extra recommendations.
Check the objects or check the WiFi networks of our Airbnb
Check the ratings or browse the reviews for issues other guests have had via Airbnb, can be useful tactics to avoid encountering accommodations that may pose a privacy risk.
Kenneth Bombace, security expert and CEO of Global Threat Solutions, recommends conducting a “common sense” review once the user arrives at the hotel or accommodation contracted through Airbnb or similar platforms. You should therefore check those objects in which a camera is likely to be hidden and, above all, that they are pointing to areas such as the bedroom or the bathroom. For example, smoke detectors, plugs, alarm clocks, multimedia equipment, etc. It is advisable to unplug these objects, put them in a drawer or cover them with a garment.
Checking the Wi-Fi networks of the Airbnb or those nearby can also be a good idea to detect video surveillance cameras. Many of these devices work via wireless connection. If the smartphone connects to the same network where the camera is paired it is possible to detect it through tools such as Angry IP or Fing. Disabling Wi-Fi can also be another idea to prevent security cameras from connecting to the network and sharing the broadcast. However, it must be borne in mind that Airbnb owners can place security devices in areas considered non-private (such as the entrance or gardens) to control that acts of crime, parties or illegal activities are not carried out.