Privacy is expected as a hotel guest, but with Airbnb the line between privacy and surveillance is much finer.
A German woman is suing Airbnb for placing her in a California rental where a secret camera filmed her walking around the apartment naked and recorded private conversations between her and her partner.
Yvonne Schumacher walked from the master bedroom to the guest bedroom to use that bathroom instead — completely unaware she was being captured on camera walking across the apartment naked. Not only was her body filmed without her consent, but the conversations between her and her companion, Kevin Stockton, regarding their relationship and financial issues were recorded.
Schumacher discovered the camera on the third day of the trip. She noticed a light coming from behind candles in the living room and found the device. The couple immediately left the apartment.
The lawsuit slammed the rental company for its negligence in executing strong background checks.
“In failing to engage in little, if any, investigation of lessors before allowing lessors to post their property on the Internet portal, Airbnb created and continues to create a foreseeable risk of harm to parties such as this Plaintiff who rely upon Airbnb’s assertion that it has created ‘a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world,’” the lawsuit reads.
"Though we do not comment on pending litigation we will defend it vigorously," Airbnb told Mic in an interview. "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 asks hosts to fully disclose whether there are security cameras or other surveillance equipment at or around the listing and to get consent where required."
This troubling scandal is not the first for Airbnb. In January, security cameras were found in the living room, kitchen and bedroom of a Montreal apartment.
Yet this policy seems to go amiss as Airbnb still struggles to maintain a safe environment for their guests as this case shows.
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