Staying in an Airbnb and feel like you're being watched? Here are 4 ways to detect hidden cameras

In our increasingly tech-savvy world, there are lots of gadgets out there that help make our lives easier, but also some that can… complicate things.

A recent story about a couple who discovered a hidden camera in their Airbnb home has left some of us wondering what we can do to protect ourselves against such misuse of technology.

Regarding Airbnb, the company has made it very clear in light of the incident that hidden cameras are prohibited in Airbnbs across the world.

An Airbnb spokesperson issued the statement: “We take privacy extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy for this behavior. As soon as we were made aware, we removed the host from our community and provided the guest with our full support.”

Yet, as hidden cameras could be planted anywhere and by anyone nowadays, it may be helpful to have some knowledge in mind about the sneaky recording devices.

While the hope is that you never find yourselves needing these tips, here are 4 ways to detect hidden cameras:

1. Scan the room

Photo: Reuters

This one may seem obvious, but one of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself is to physically scan the room upon entering it.

Do a thorough search of your surroundings for anything that looks unusual or out of place such as lampshades that don't look normal, suspicious flower arrangements, or pictures on the wall that seem oddly placed (perhaps too high or low).

Look for small holes about the size of your phone's camera in walls or other features of the room. They should be somewhere on the side of the object facing the rest of the room.

Underneath couch cushions, table tops, or shelves are also good hiding places for small cameras, WikiHow advises.

Of course, be sure to check smoke detectors, light fixtures, speakers, flower pots, and anything placed in a high or unobstructed area that has a decent view of the entire room.

If you do come across any dubious-looking holes, tape or adhesive bandages can be used to cover them up for peace of mind.

2. Look for lights

Photo: Pixabay

Some cameras or microphones have lights to indicate when the power is on. If you have a careless creep on your hands, then they may have forgotten to cover up or deactivate this feature while setting up.

A suggestion from Techwalla is to simply turn off all the lights in the room and look around for a tiny red or green LED light.

3. Catch reflections

Photo: Pixabay

Most cameras have a lens that reflects light regardless of whether it's on or off.

If you turn off the lights and slowly shine a light source around the room (you can use a small flashlight or your phone's light feature), you might catch small glimmers of light reflected back at you.

According to Techlicious, you should go slowly, and examine suspicious places from multiple angles.

If you see glints of light where there shouldn't be - places where there are no mirrors, glass or other reflective surfaces - you may have found yourself an unwelcomed recording device.

4. Use an app

Photo: AFP

Lastly, while not the most effective, you can also download an app on your phone to detect a hidden camera.

Using radiation detection, they might be able to indicate whenever you are in the midst of a concealed camera.

Lastly, if all else fails, just keep an eye out for anything suspicious and be mindful of your actions while in the room.

thanhb@sph.com.sg

on SPH Brightcove

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