NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion C Palm Beach CountyWest Palm Beach


Airbnb hidden camera raises privacy concerns and questions

Posted at 5:05 AM, Oct 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-11 05:19:19-04

The story about an Indiana couple discovering a hidden camera in their Florida Airbnb rental is taking the internet by storm.

The couple found a camera and microphone hidden inside a smoke detector in the bedroom of the Longboat Key townhouse that they were renting.

The owner of that property is now facing criminal charges for video voyeurism.

In a statement Airbnb wrote:
“We are outraged at the reports of what happened; as soon as we were made aware, we permanently banned this individual from our community and fully supported the affected guests. Our team has reached out to local law enforcement to aid them with their investigation of this egregious offense and we hope justice is served. We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behavior."

While these cameras were not for security purposes, according to police, it does have some wondering: When do security cameras go too far?

“I think most people would consider that to be an outrageous invasion of privacy,” said James Green an attorney for the ACLU in West Palm Beach.

He says it comes down to where most people expect to have privacy -- and a bedroom is one of them.

“Do you have an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in a motel room or hotel room or a bedroom you rent in Airbnb?  And I think the answer to most people is you absolutely do,” said Green.

According to Airbnb’s website, their policy is that its community respects each other's privacy.

It says hosts are required to disclose all surveillance devices in their listings. The company also prohibits such devices in private places such as bedrooms.