Airbnb guest uses network sniffer to find hidden webcam, Airbnb finds no wrongdoing

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/04/06/nothing-to-see-here-2.html

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#2

How utterly invasive and creepy.

That said, I have to:

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#3

How long before AirBnB slips something in to prohibit that?

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#4

Airbnb bashing is popular. But there are vast majority of folks that offer a great place for a great price, with no security video apparatus watching.

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#5

Airbnb’s business is going to soon be going down in flames methinks.

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#6

Certainly. I don’t think what’s notable about the article is the bad host, but the unaccountable company that’s opaque and doesn’t follow its own policies when they’re inconvenient for them, unless they get publicly shamed. That’s bad business.

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#7

So - what can your average Jane do to find hidden cameras in hotel rooms?

Is there a boing-boing guide?

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#8

Sadly, I disagree. Or if their business fails it won’t be due to customer dissatisfaction. This is a feature of their business model. AirBnB is a slick and easy booking service and communication platform. But their obligation to the end user only goes that far. The danger is that we use it to replace things like hotels. And since we use AirBnB like hotels, we expect our interactions to be the same. Hotels provide and maintain physical accommodations and take your money in return. If a hotel room has a problem, you complain to the hotel and they need to fix it or face some accountability. AirBnB only takes your money in return for giving you someone’s contact info. If you have a problem with the accommodations, that’s between you and the owner of the space you rented. I use AirBnB and have had mostly good experiences, but did have one issue on a rental which for reasons too long and boring to explain here, had no toilet seat and the owner had no intention of providing one. I had a drawn out correspondence with AirBnB, hoping to get them to act as a mediator. My argument was that if a toilet is listed as an amenity then it is reasonable to expect that it includes a toilet seat. AirBnB is not equipped to handle this type of situation. Fortunately for us, my young son falling into the toilet each time he used the bathroom had no lasting harm and makes for a funny travel story. But the stakes could be higher. Your Uber driver is a serial rapist? Sorry, not our problem.

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#9

Are you an Airbnb host?

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#10

Boeing CEO: “The vast majority of our 737 Max jets have never crashed shortly after takeoff.”

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#11

Seconded.
If I stay in an Air BnB, either by choice or because the nearest motel/hotel is too far away, what easy to follow steps can I take to reduce the chances I’m getting recorded?

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#12

I dont see why this couldn’t well be air bnb’s problem if they have knowledge of their service being used for what amounts to criminal activity and do nothing about it ? case in point backpage.

#13

I think most digital cameras these days are somewhat sensitive to IR light. I bet if you made an IR LED flood light, it would washout the cameras without being visible to the human eye.

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#14

My problem with Airbnb is mainly in cities like New York that are popular with tourists, where I feel like it has made housing more expensive. I know they’ve tried to crack down on that to a degree, the worst cases being landlords that are essentially running illegal hotels because it’s more profitable than having tenants. But also if someone’s in the market for an apartment and part of their calculation in what they can afford includes renting a room, that means prices for those apartments go up and are being occupied by smaller numbers of people… i have less of an issue with it in more off the beaten path places where housing isn’t as competitive.

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#15

I guess what I’m saying is I wouldn’t expect AirBnB to see it as their problem. Someone else (we) would have to make it their problem. They probably have some contorted language in their contract or EULA that does not hold them culpable for criminal activity not previously disclosed to them.

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#16

I’m gonna stop you right there.
I’m talking about The Dummies Guide to making sure people aren’t videotaping you in your Hotel/Motel/AirBnB.

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#17

Here’s a succinct guide to sweeping for bugs…

Here’s another less thorough one…

That said, about a third of the way down in the first guide where they recommend purchasing an RF detector, you really don’t need that unless your opponent is using non-commercial surveillance bugs, which the average Airbnb host is not. If you have a smart-phone, you already have an RF detector that will sniff the frequencies range used by the kind of wifi cameras someone can buy off Amazon. Below are some useful Andriod apps.

This one has a quick video tutorial…

WiFiAnalyzer (open-source):

This one is more task specific, but less comprehensive and gives you less detailed information…

Electronic Bug Detector - Camera Detector:

Another…
Bug Detector Scanner - Spy Device Detector

Apple network analyzer (I can’t vouch for the utility as I don’t have an iOS device)…

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#18

soon there will be new tech for the discerning air bnb host.

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#19

Obligs…

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#20

Thank you!!!

image

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