Last updated: 08:44 PM ET, Sat December 19 2015

Airbnb Hit With Lawsuit Over Hidden Camera

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | December 19, 2015

Airbnb Hit With Lawsuit Over Hidden Camera

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Yvonne Schumacher and her partner Kevin Stockton arrived at an Irvine, California apartment rented through Airbnb in December 2013 and settled in, secure in the knowledge that their privacy was intact — but when they discovered the hidden camera, it became apparent that they were wrong. And now Airbnb, along with the apartment’s owners have been hit with a lawsuit.

Schumacher’s attorney explained the violation in the official complaint via Road Warrior Voices, stating, “[W]hile staying as a guest in the property, at night Mrs. Schumacher would sleep without any clothing, believing that with the front door closed and the window blinds drawn throughout the property, she was protected and free from prying eyes. This natural presumption proved to be incorrect.”

Schumacher herself stated in the lawsuit, according to Road Warrior Voices, that the camera recorded “personal and intimate” conversations between the pair. She also declared that the apartment owners violated her privacy “on a daily basis.”

Stockton found the camera secreted behind candles on a living room shelf, Road Warrior Voices said, set up in such a way that it could view the living room and the hallway between the master bedroom and bathroom. The couple believes the recording device was remote controlled as well, judging by its movements, Road Warrior Voices added.

Once the camera was found, they left immediately, far short of their month-long rental period.

Per the complaint, Schumacher is “deeply humiliated and angry,” and concerned that nude images taken of her in the apartment may appear on the Internet.

Airbnb’s policies are clear, as expressed in a statement to Mashable:

“Though we do not comment on pending litigation we will defend it vigorously. Airbnb takes privacy issues extremely seriously. All hosts must certify that they comply with all applicable laws in their locations and are of course expected to respect the privacy of their guests. Airbnb warns hosts to fully disclose whether there are security cameras or other surveillance equipment at or around the listing and to get consent where required.”

When reporting on another Airbnb hidden camera incident, a company spokesman told the Observer that Airbnb has a “zero tolerance policy” regarding this violation.

As Road Warrior Voices said, “It looks like, with Schumacher’s lawsuit, its level of tolerance will be tested by the court.”


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