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A security expert in China finds hidden camera in her Airbnb

The pervy host didn’t count on anyone noticing an extra hole in the router

This article originally appeared on ABACUS
Finding a hidden camera in an Airbnb would be creepy for anyone. One woman in China experienced this firsthand after she checked into her room last week.

Unfortunately for the pervy host, his Airbnb guest turned out to be an internet and information security expert. The woman first noticed something unusual when she arrived at the man’s flat in Qingdao, Shandong province, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

“I found a motion sensor monitor at the flat’s entrance and two in the two bedrooms, which is odd since the flat had not been renovated for smart-home automation,” she said. “I turned the sensors to face the wall and covered them with stickers.”

She continued to check the smoke detectors and the television, which are usual hiding spots for hidden cameras. What really caught her attention, though, was the router, which was facing the bed and sporting an extra hole.

After unscrewing it, the woman found a digital memory card inside that had been used to record guests.

“I immediately called the police after finding the card,” she said. “They came and took away the equipment.”

The guest compared the router to a picture of the product and realized something was amiss. (Picture: Sina)

The woman said she always checks her hotel rooms, and she is not the only one paranoid about her Airbnb stays.

In a survey of 2,000 Americans by financial services company IPX1031, 58 percent of respondents said they worry about hidden cameras.
The paranoia seems to pay off: 11% of respondents said they’ve actually found a hidden camera in an Airbnb room. Several stories about guests finding hidden cameras in their Airbnbs have come out in recent months, including in Miami and Cork.  

In this latest case in China, Airbnb reacted by removing the peeping tom, who was labeled as a “Superhost” -- an experienced, highly-rated host held up as a shining example.

“We sincerely apologized to the client and have taken the flat off the apartment listings,” an Airbnb spokesperson told the Beijing Youth Daily.

Police found the man had been filming guests since March. The guest was refunded her US$250. However, the host only got 20 days of detention and a US$74 fine, according to local media.
It seems Airbnb flats aren’t the only place to worry about hidden cameras, though. One couple in China discovered a hidden camera in the electricity socket of their shared apartment room after living there for six months.

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.