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PSA: How to tell if your Airbnb comes with a hidden camera

Because there’s nothing I like better than arriving somewhere and checking if I’m being secretly filmed.

I think I’m too old for Airbnb. Travelling during a pandemic is not the time to embrace inconsistent cancellation policies and iffy cleaning practices. I want reliable. I want triangle tips on my toilet paper.


I do not want a hidden camera. But just as the sharing economy has grown, so too has the technology responsible for hidden cameras. 


TikTok user Marcus Hutchins is an “ex-hacker” who teaches cybersecurity. In a recent video he shared a few tips on how to spot hidden cameras, the New York Post reported.


“The first [places] you’re going to want to look for is devices that are conveniently placed where a creeper would want to look,” he said.


“Check any suspicious devices or holes that are facing the shower, dressing area or bed.”


Fire alarms, alarm clocks, even phone chargers could house a camera.


“These camera lenses are very small,” Hutchins said.


“They can be hidden in anything, even a hole in the wall.” 



But how to spot them? 


“One way to see if a device is a camera is to shine a bright light at it. If you hit a camera lens, it’s going to give a bluish reflection,” Hutchins said. To see what he means, shine a light at your smart phone camera.


Don’t forget the cameras that have night vision capabilities. To spot these, Hutchins says to keep an eye out for infrared LED lights on the device. While they can be difficult to find with the naked eye, looking through your iPhone camera may reveal the LEDs.


The Post reached out to Airbnb to discuss its policy on the use of household surveillance in its listings and found that while hidden cameras of any type or location are “banned,” Airbnb hosts are allowed to have cameras around the house exterior, as well as in a common indoor space, such as a living room — but only if it’s clearly stated and identified to guests.O

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Published: 27 January 2022

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