Family's shock at finding secret camera in Airbnb apartment

Air BnB has apologised to a family who discovered they were being secretly filmed by a hidden camera at their accomodation in Cork.

We're not certain which of the two devices on the ceiling contains the camera.

"They should also be contacting previous guests from a property with a discovered camera to let them know that they may have been surveilled without their knowledge", she said.

Writing on Facebook, Nealie explained how the family came across the camera feed while trying to connect to the WiFi at the house. "They were treating it like a canceled booking", Nealie Barker said. "We were all watching ourselves on his mobile phone", Ms Barker told Stuff.com.

"He later called back and admitted there was only one hidden camera and that he had installed it to "protect his asset".

"The kids felt anxious that the host might be a scary stalker type and we knew he had remote access to the front door, so could in theory enter the property".

Airbnb also stated that the company has strict policies in relation to the use of cameras, and that cameras are never allowed in bathrooms, or bedrooms, or to be hidden.

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Ms Barker claimed that several weeks after the incident, Airbnb sent a message stating it had found no wrongdoing on the part of the host and the house listing was reinstated.

The family left the accommodation on the night they arrived for a three-night stay. They have also clarified their regulations around cameras: "If you're a host and you have any type of surveillance device in or around a listing, even if it's not turned on or hooked up, we require that you indicate its presence in your House Rules".

"The safety and privacy of our community - both online and offline - is our priority", they said.

Airbnb says that its policies strictly prohibit hidden cameras and that it takes reports of any violations extremely seriously. "Host cancellation penalties may apply".

"We have a zero tolerance stance when it comes to violations and we immediately remove anyone who has violated the policy", Airbnb told Ars.

'There have been over half a billion guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date and negative incidents are incredibly rare, ' the spokesperson concluded.

A spokesperson for the Office of Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon told the Irish Independent: "The DPC has just become aware of the issue and we will be seeking further information from Airbnb on the matter".

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