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More and more reports from hidden cameras
When you rent a hotel room or the like on a vacation or business trip, you don’t want to feel like you’re being watched. And that feeling is not uncommon: as reported by CNBC, in 2019 nearly 60 percent of Americans were concerned about hidden cameras in Airbnb apartments. And this concern does not appear to be unfounded, as eleven percent of vacation home tenants said they actually discovered a hidden camera during their stay. This is according to a survey by real estate company IPX1031.
This problem does not only exist in the United States. According to the human rights organization Human Rights Watch in South Korea, more than 30,000 incidents of filming with hidden cameras were received between 2013 and 2018. Kenneth Bombace, CEO of intelligence firm Global Threat Solutions, attributes the tremendous increase in cases to the increased availability and affordability of cameras, and to the population’s growing ability to detect them.
For example, wmn magazine reports on the case of a US woman who recently had an unpleasant experience with a hidden camera. When asked on Twitter if she thought it was better to book a hotel or vacation rental, she replied in a post: “My recent Airbnb had two cameras, one in the bedroom and one in the living room in front of the sofa bed where my son slept and changed.”
Better to look twice
In fact, there are some measures you can take to identify hidden cameras in Airbnb hotel rooms and suites. For example, Bombace recommends that when looking for cameras, start with the bathroom and bedroom. While Airbnb providers may install cameras in their properties, they do need to inform their guests. However, installing cameras in private rooms that affect privacy is prohibited. According to the expert, the vast majority of cameras are hidden in household items such as lamps, thermostats or radios and are connected to some source of electricity. Therefore, the first thing to do in the bedroom is to unplug the radio and put it in a drawer.
Cameras can be recognized by the light reflected by the lens, no matter how small they are. Therefore, by pointing the flashlight at a suspicious object, you can very well identify the hidden inside by the camera reflection. However, according to CNBC, Michael O’Rourke, CEO of security company Advanced Operational Concepts, warns against being too careless when using this method. According to him, identifying cameras with a flashlight can certainly be a success, but if you follow the wrong procedure, it can easily happen that the camera is overlooked.
According to Reisreporter, there is another method of detecting unwanted cameras. In a video posted on TikTok, the user explains how to identify hidden infrared cameras: turning off the light and scanning a room with an open camera on a smartphone. In fact, the camera of a mobile phone is capable of detecting infrared rays. In the aforementioned video, a user spotted a camera in a small speaker, showing how small and ingenious hiding places for cameras can be. Therefore, you should be especially careful and not ignore any possible hiding place, no matter how small and inconspicuous it may be.
Tricks to help you find cameras
As Bombace explains, hidden cameras must always be connected to the local Wi-Fi network so that the transmitted images can be monitored remotely. Therefore, it is recommended that you use Wi-Fi scanning applications such as Fing to identify camera devices on your network. Even when covert cameras use separate networks to transmit video, scanning applications are helpful because they can tell how many networks are in a building.
However, if this does not work, there is still the option of using a spy camera detector, which scans radio frequencies connected to hidden cameras. They are available for free in the online shopping markets. However, as Michael O’Rourke notes, this method only works if the hidden camera is actually transmitting data. Many hidden cameras would only store the video footage on the hard drive, instead of transmitting the recorded live image directly. Bombace also warns against being too price-conscious when buying such a detector: cheaper models often left a lot to be desired in terms of quality.
Thomas Weschle / Editor of finanzen.net
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