If Yun Fei hadn’t found the hidden camera in the Airbnb apartment, he would probably find leaked videos of himself on porn sites.
Yun reported to local police on May 1, the first day of his arrival at the apartment in Qingdao, China. Two days later, he got a written decision of administrative penalty saying that the house owner would be held in administrative detention for 20 days, and be fined $74 (500 yuan). The apartment was shut down to no longer provide hospitality services.
That is the cost of a Chinese citizen’s privacy.
“We fully refunded the guest and promised to pay for his hotel. We also assigned a coordinator to negotiate with him,” Airbnb China told Ynet.com on May 5.
Yun found something was wrong with the router not long after he checked in, because he always pays attention to information security in his daily life. As a cyber security practitioner, he has taken privacy protection lessons, which saved him this time.
But if Yun hadn’t taken those classes, he would probably never noticed the camera. The house he booked was not cheap ($250 for three nights). And it received many guests as well as positive comments. “The house owner is labeled superhost on the website, which gives him priority when customers are browsing for houses,” Yun said.
The camera was hidden in a router, which was reformed for sneak shots. And it faced guests’ bed directly.
“As soon as I found irregularities in the router, I put the side with lights toward the ground and checked it carefully,” Yun said, “The wiring was different.”
Apart from the router, Yun also checked the smoke detector, television, sockets and plugs, which are exposed devices that can hold a camera to film people in the room.
This is for sure not the first time that Airbnb has been involved in such hidden-camera problems. In January, a guest also found cameras in a Miami apartment.
“This wasn’t [just] a negative experience,” the guest said. “This was a criminal act.”
Featured Image Source: SentelTech