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It happened to me. You check in for a vacation rental and calmly find a surveillance camera. Even if the camera is technically licensed, it’s very disturbing.
Prepared to be shocked. Cameras can be hidden behind vents, lamps, power outlets, and even unpretentious objects such as humidifiers and TV remotes. You need to look at these cameras to believe they exist.Tap or click 10 very sneaky hidden cameras You never knew they were there.
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If you’re going on vacation right away, it’s important to know your rights regarding rental surveillance cameras.
Spying has never been easier
A few years ago, surveillance cameras were expensive and bulky. These days, it’s affordable and easy to install and hide. Depending on the rental service, the owner has the right to install the camera.
The Airbnb I rented a few years ago had about 12 cameras in my house. The owner disclosed the camera using a small font at the bottom of the list. Now I read the rental property carefully and ask these questions before booking.
- The exact number of cameras and where are they?
- Is the camera recording?
- What will happen to those recordings after my stay?
Airbnb allows security cameras Or “public space” and “common space” audio recorders. That is, there are no bathrooms, bedrooms or other sleeping areas. For example, if your living room has a sofa bed, cameras and other surveillance devices are not allowed. Hidden cameras and private cameras are also not allowed.
VRBO enables the camera And other monitoring equipment can only be used outside the facility. The only exception: smart devices that cannot be activated remotely. You need to notify the guest and provide the option to deactivate it.
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But is it legal?
Laws on this wicked problem vary from state to state. The Federal Video Voyeur Act criminalizes an individual if he or she “captures an image of an individual’s private area without consent and deliberately captures it in situations where the individual reasonably expects privacy.” It is important to note that “private area” means less nudity or dress condition.
Local and state laws usually allow real estate owners to install cameras in “public spaces.” This is an important difference. Private areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms, or areas where privacy can be reasonably expected, are off limits. In situations where you rent a single room in a house or apartment, it can be tricky.
There is another caveat. It is illegal to record blackmail or other malicious persons. Audio recording has much stricter rules than video. In many states, both parties need to be aware that the recording is taking place.
If you are renting, check the list carefully for any mention of the camera. It is your responsibility to check all rooms upon arrival, with or without disclosure. I’ll show you how.
How to find a surveillance camera
Large cameras are easy to find, but small cameras can easily be hidden behind furniture, vents, and ornaments. An easy way to find most types of cameras is to look for lens reflections.
- Turn off the lights and slowly scan the room with a flashlight or laser pointer for bright reflections.
- Scan a room from multiple locations so you don’t miss a camera that’s aimed only at a specific location.
- Examine the vents and holes and gaps in the walls and ceiling.
You can also get RF detector.. This gadget can pick up wireless cameras that you may not see. Unfortunately, RF detectors are not suitable for wired or record-only cameras. For them, you will have to stick to the lens reflection method.
If you can connect to a rental wireless network, a free program such as: Wireless network watcher Indicates the connected gadget. That way, you may be able to find the connected camera. Do this for all rentals you stay to reconfirm what is connected to the network.
Note that the owner may have placed the camera on a second network, or the camera may be a wired or record-only type. Therefore, this is not a failsafe option.
Finding a camera is relatively easy if your home automation system manages your rental property. Open the system controller menu and look for anything that mentions the camera. Therefore, you can scan your TV channel for suspicious things. I found a lot of cameras in vacation rental like this.
More Travel Wise: 5 smart tech steps to take before you get out on the road
What to do if you find a camera
If you find an indoor security camera that is not open to the public, pick up the phone and call the police. Tell them that there is direct evidence that your landlord is spying on you in your rental home without your knowledge. Use this exact phrase.
Record the situation with videos and photos on your smartphone. If you are traveling with others, ask them to be witnesses when the police arrive. Remind them that they were about to be sacrificed too. If you receive a police report, please contact the rental site.
This is not just annoying. It’s a serious invasion of privacy.
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