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Love Airbnb Rentals? Someone Might Be Watching You

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People planning to book their next getaway through Airbnb might want to keep an eye out for hidden cameras secretly recording their stay.

The online home-sharing service was recently embroiled in a controversy when a couple in California found a camera tucked behind a smoke detector in a rented room.

The incident comes just a few days after a man in Florida also discovered two hidden cameras that were recording his activity while he stayed at an Airbnb-affiliated apartment.

Both cases raise questions about how the company protects the privacy of guests staying from the machinations of dubious hosts.

Hidden Camera In Garden Grove Home

Christian Aranda and Alondra Salas booked their accommodations at a home in Garden Grove through Airbnb, according to ABC7. The house was marketed on the website as "cozy and romantic," which likely enticed the Santa Ana couple to get an overnight stay there.

However, their one-night getaway was suddenly interrupted when they found a hidden camera placed behind a smoke detector over their bed. They called Garden Grove police the following morning and confronted their host.

Police officers confirmed that the device in the smoke detector was indeed a camera, though there were no indications that it was turned on or that it had recorded any footage. They said no crimes were committed during the incident.

Aranda and Salas were still not pleased with the potential invasion of their privacy.

"It's disgusting, that there's people out there, recording you, getting intimate," Salas said.

"They have this labeled as a romantic getaway on Airbnb."

In its statement, Airbnb said it considers the safety and privacy of its online and offline community as its priority. It does not allow hidden cameras in its listings and takes reports of violations seriously.

The company added that it has already taken down the host's listing from its platform. It has also given Salas a full refund for the couple's stay.

Airbnb explained that negative incidents such as this are very rare.

Aranda was not convinced by the home-sharing service's action, claiming that it has to do more to prevent such incidents. He said he found 24 reviews on Airbnb that described other hidden cameras in rented rooms.

Aranda and Salas are reportedly planning to take legal action against the owner of the home they stayed in as well as Airbnb.

Another Case Of Secret Cameras

Meanwhile, a Florida man who booked his stay at an Airbnb affiliate found out that he was secretly being filmed using hidden cameras in his room.

Max Vest, a children's-camp director from Gainesville, Florida, was shocked to discover two cameras in the apartment he was renting in Miami through Airbnb.

He spotted both devices next to a power outlet on the far side of the guest room he was staying in. They appeared to be phone chargers at first, but upon closer inspection, he saw that they were really cameras.

The cameras appeared to have been recording his activity and saving it to memory cards. However, he did not discount the possibility that they could have been streaming him live over the internet.

Vest took the memory cards from the cameras and left the apartment. He reported the incident to Airbnb's safety team.

The company gave Vest a full refund and paid for his accommodations at a hotel. It also removed the host from its listings.

Vest is considering filing a complaint against Airbnb under Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

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