If you are traveling for the holidays, here is something else to watch for – the hidden web camera. If you are staying at an Airbnb, or even a traditional hotel or motel over the holidays, be aware that there have been incidents where web cams have been found in the rooms. Often they are disguised as other devices, such as the “motion detector” web cam that was found in one Airbnb.
Cameras can hidden as nanny cams, smoke alarms, motion detectors, light bulbs, alarm clocks, wall clocks, teddy bears, air fresheners, picture frames, wall outlets, or small devices plugged into USB ports.
As far as detecting these devices yourself, you have to look for anything odd with a good line of sight to where you would most likely be. Tiny holes are often a tip off. You can disable most cameras by placing a small piece of masking tape over the lens, but this won’t automatically defeat a hidden microphone.
If you actually find a hidden camera, you can:
- Report it to the police. This sort of surveillance is illegal.
- Take a picture of the device for evidence
- Take a picture of the room, and where the camera was located.
- If you are staying at an Airbnb, report it to Airbnb. This is a violation of their terms of service.
- Find another place to stay.
- Naked Security (an often cited blog resource, but an oddly ironic name in the context of this story.)
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