There has been recent talk of Airbnb owners installing hidden cameras in their apartments causing consternation among Kenyans using the service.
The service has been hugely popular both for owners and customers because it is a convenient and affordable way to get accommodation. However these new developments are causing some to think twice about using the platform.
— mmnjug™ (@mmnjug) May 9, 2022
So…how many of you using AirBnB in Kenya have discovered hidden cameras in your rentals?
— SD | Maundu (@SDMaundu) March 27, 2019
However, according to Airbnb community policies, hidden security cameras and noise monitoring devices are not allowed.
According to Airbnb, security cameras and noise monitoring devices are only allowed if they are disclosed to customers beforehand. They should also only be installed in public spaces and common spaces. Common spaces do not include sleeping areas or bathrooms.
Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in entire homes or apartments unless they are clearly identified and disclosed in the common spaces. They are also not allowed in common areas that are being used as sleeping areas, like a living room with a sofa bed.
The hidden camera problem in Airbnb is an old one and has been happening for some time now. Some users have been complaining of Social Media about the problem. Twitter User Jason Scott Tweeted that his colleague found a hidden camera in his Airbnb.
In "oh, that's a thing now" news, a colleague of mine thought it odd that there was a single "motion detector" in his AirBNB in the bedroom and voila, it's an IP camera connected to the web. (He left at 3am, reported, host is suspended, colleague got refund.) pic.twitter.com/6KgkDmEZXB
— Jason Scott (@textfiles) November 28, 2017
In a video that was shared by TikTok user Marcus Hutchins, he recommended various ways to find out if there is a hidden camera in your Airbnb. He recommended shining a torch around the room when you arrive to look for any potential recording devices and paying attention to obvious places a camera might be positioned.
In the video, he shares “Take this fire alarm for instance, it is placed right above the bed. Now one way to see if the device is a camera is to shine a bright light at it. If you hit a camera lens it’s going to get a blue-ish reflection. You can test this by shining a light at your phone and seeing how the camera looks when placed under a flashlight.”
If you find a hidden camera in your Airbnb, we recommend reporting the issue to Airbnb or to the Police.