We’ve all heard the Airbnb horror stories: owners finding a flat trashed from a party that went viral; guests being kicked out of a private hot tub in New Zealand for being naked; or coming home to find an artist has painted a mural on the wall.
Then there’s finding a secret camera installed in your holiday apartment.
That’s what happened to Dougie Hamilton, who was on holiday with his girlfriend in Toronto, Canada. After a busy day of sightseeing, he returned to his apartment to find a video camera hidden in a digital clock in the Airbnb he booked.
The Scottish holidaymaker told the Daily Record: “We were only in the place for 20 minutes when I noticed the clock. There was just something in my head that made me feel a bit uneasy.”
He said he stared at it for about 10 minutes, and noticed that it was connected to a wire that looked like a phone charger. Somehow, he felt it “wasn’t quite right”.
“I took the charger out of it and saw there was a lithium battery in the back. At this point, I slid the front facing off the clock and could see there actually was a camera. The hidden camera was facing into the living area and open-plan bedroom, so it could see everything. We didn’t know if the owner had been watching. It just felt really creepy and we didn’t want to stay.”
Airbnb requires guests to disclose whether there are security cameras or other surveillance equipment at or around the listing and get consent where required. The platform adds that cameras are never allowed in bathrooms or bedrooms.
“We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero tolerance policy for this behaviour. We have removed the host from the platform while we investigate and are providing the guest with our full support,” a spokesperson for Airbnb confirmed to The Independent.
It’s understood that police in Toronto are investigating the matter.