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World
08 Apr 2019

New Zealand family discovers camera at Airbnb listing, host removed

New Zealand family finds hidden camera in Airbnb

In a horrifying incident, a family from New Zealand found a hidden camera at their Airbnb in Ireland.

The listing has since been removed.

However, Nealie Barker, the guest, in a Facebook post said that many contacted her saying that they were allowed to stay in the property, even though initial investigations were on.

Ireland's Data Protection Commission will seek further explanation from Airbnb.

In context

New Zealand family finds hidden camera in Airbnb

Nealie decided to make the issue public via Facebook

Airbnb delayed the investigation, took action after 33 days

Details

Airbnb delayed the investigation, took action after 33 days

After a delay in action, the company decided to remove the host from its listing after 33 days.

Airbnb told CNN, "The safety and privacy of our community, both online and offline, is our priority. Airbnb policies strictly prohibit hidden cameras in listings and we take reports of any violations extremely seriously."

"We have permanently removed this bad actor from our platform," it added.

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Context

What happened: Family found the camera while searching for network

Amid their 14-month trip in and around Europe, Nealie, Andrew Barker and their family from Auckland, checked-in at the said Airbnb property last month.

While searching for Wi-Fi network, Andrew, who is in IT security, found out a live feed of the living room and tracked the camera hidden in the smoke detector.

The family got no satisfying response after they reported the issue.

It was a shock, a horrible feeling, says Nealie

Talking to CNN, Nealie said, "It was such a shock. It was just a really horrible feeling. They (Airbnb) had no advice for us over the phone. The girl just said that if you cancel within 14 days, you won't get your money back."

Airbnb 'exonerated' the host and reinstated the listing

Investigation

Airbnb 'exonerated' the host and reinstated the listing

They then confronted the owner of the host, who tried to convince the family that it was the only camera present in the house.

The Barkers then moved to a nearby hotel as they weren't satisfied.

Later, Airbnb's Trust and Safety team assured them that they would conduct an investigation and suspended the property from their listing.

However, the host was "exonerated," and reinstated.

Statement

Negative incidents are incredibly rare, says Airbnb in defense

Meanwhile, Nealie's post caught media attention in New Zealand and worldwide, forcing Airbnb to permanently ban the host.

Admitting their "original handling didn't meet the high standards we set for ourselves," Airbnb said they "have apologized to the family and refunded their stay."

"There've been over half a billion guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date and negative incidents are incredibly rare," Airbnb said.

Hosts need to inform Airbnb, guests about cameras on property

According to the standards, the hosts need to inform Airbnb and guests if they are actively recording anything on the property (strictly prohibited in bathrooms and bedrooms). In case the guests are not informed or informed after their booking, Airbnb permits full refund and cancellations.

Nealie suggests travelers to learn from her experience

Lesson

Nealie suggests travelers to learn from her experience

Meanwhile, the communication manager for Ireland's Data Protection Commission, Aoife Mullen, said that they are aware and would seek further investigation into the matter from Airbnb.

According to Nealie, the family is currently in Budapest and staying in an Airbnb listing.

She has urged travelers to learn from the incident and scan places for hidden cameras.

"We've become much more cautious now," she added.

Ask NewsBytes
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Most asked questions

How did they find the camera?

Is there any statement from the Ireland's end?

Is Barker family still using Airbnb services?

Is a camera allowed on Airbnb property?

More questions

How did they find the camera?

Asked 2019-04-08 17:17:26 by Shreyas Chavan

Answered by NewsBytes

While searching for Wi-Fi network, Andrew Barker, who is in IT security, found out a live feed of the living room and tracked the camera hidden in the smoke detector.

Is there any statement from the Ireland's end?

Asked 2019-04-08 17:17:26 by Dhruv Mukopadhyay

Answered by NewsBytes

The communication manager for Ireland's Data Protection Commission, Aoife Mullen, said that they are aware and will seek further investigation into the matter from Airbnb.

Is Barker family still using Airbnb services?

Asked 2019-04-08 17:17:26 by Sai Malhotra

Answered by NewsBytes

According to Nealie Barker, the family is currently in Budapest and staying in an Airbnb listing. However, she said, "We've become much more cautious now."

Is a camera allowed on Airbnb property?

Asked 2019-04-08 17:17:26 by Trishla Das

Answered by NewsBytes

According to the standards, the hosts need to inform Airbnb and guests if they are actively recording anything on the property (strictly prohibited in bathrooms and bedrooms). In case the guests are not informed or informed after their booking, Airbnb permits full refund and cancellations.

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