Bar losing your luggage, finding out that the owner of the Airbnb or hotel where you’re staying is spying on you with a hidden camera is perhaps the worst hypothetical thing to happen on your post-lockdown holiday.
Back in 2019, a report found that a Facebook group of thousands of Airbnb and other holiday rental venue owners were allegedly sharing stories and embarrassing photos about guests they had caught on security cameras.
Airbnb’s community standards prohibit hosts from sharing guests’ personal information. In a statement on their website, they say:
“We require hosts to disclose all security cameras and other recording devices in their listings, and we prohibit any security cameras and other recording devices that are in or that observe the interior of certain private spaces (such as bedrooms and bathrooms), regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed. Intentionally concealed recording devices (such as hidden security cameras) are never permitted.”
The company has since introduced a new policy that every home and host listed on the site needs to be reviewed before advertised and that guests can request a refund by means of a guest guarantee if the venue doesn’t match the description on the site.
If you’re still concerned that someone is spying on you, however, here’s how to tell if there’s a secret camera hidden in your hotel or Airbnb room.
How to tell if there are hidden cameras in your hotel room or Airbnb
According to TikToker Marcus Hutchins (@malwaretech), you want to look for objects or devices that are conveniently placed around the room. This could include a smoke alarm above the bed, an automatic clock by a bedside table or even a TV unit, to name a few.
From there, shine a light on the object you believe is suspicious. Doing so will reveal either a very obvious camera inside the device or a blue light inside it from a micro-camera.
To tell if there’s a night vision camera in your Airbnb, turn the lights off and use your front-facing camera on your phone. If you see a pair of purple dots on the walls, a smoke alarm or another object, that’s an LED camera. P.S. your back-facing phone camera won’t work here because it uses an IR filter.
Also, you can better spot secret LED cameras on a device that has LED lights by covering up the standard LED light with your thumb and then hovering your front-facing camera over it.
Hutchins says that while there aren’t many instances where someone would put a night-vision camera in a bathroom because people tend to not shower in the dark, it’s worth keeping an eye out for any suspicious devices or objects facing the bathroom entrance.
For the full tutorial, check out the TikTok video below.