Guests finding hidden cameras in vacation rentals
PHOENIX – Technology and privacy are colliding with a travel trend that is seeing vacationers ditch the hotels and choosing rental homes instead. The problem is hidden cameras. Travelers are finding them in homes they are renting while on vacation, KTVK reported.
One lawsuit in California names a big vacation rental company as a defendant after visitors from Germany discovered a hidden camera in the living room of the home they were renting.
“Every state is different. There’s no federal law on the subject. So, you’re always looking at state laws or city laws,” said James Goodnow, an attorney and legal analyst.
Goodnow’s law firm has privacy information posted online. He says there are generally three areas that are off-limits for hidden cameras. They are bedrooms, bathrooms and pools.
“There’s actually a statute in Arizona that says you cannot film in those areas. And if you do without the person’s consent, it’s punishable under criminal law,” said Goodnow.
While bedrooms may be off-limits, common areas, such as living rooms, are a gray area.
“I was pretty surprised to see the cameras inside,” said Kim Komando, who hosts a weekly syndicated radio show that focuses on the digital world.
She spotted seven hidden cameras in the common areas of a home she rented recently.
“When I identified the cameras, I immediately covered them all up,” said Komando.
She also wrote about the incident in a blog post and in a column in a national newspape
One of the problems is that the cameras are getting smaller and less expensive.
Skye Vasconcellos, who manages the Phoenix Spy Shop, sells cameras that look like alarm clocks and lenses that will fit just about anywhere. He also sells RF detectors and lens finders that help people spot hidden cameras and listening devices.
“We get calls every day,” said Vasconcellos, when asked how often people call about devices that can spot hidden cameras.