Family surprised to find security camera in their Airbnb rental

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Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather – KITV Channel 4

A family visiting Hawaii is sharing concerns they have about the their Makaha vacation rental.

The family was surprised to see a security camera inside the apartment.

The family of four, who only wanted to be identified by their first names, is vacationing from Canada.

Joe, Sonja, their 8-year-old daughter and seven-month-old son arrived at their Airbnb rental late Wednesday night after their flight from Canada was delayed.

“My husband went to park the car, while I brought my two children upstairs. I unlocked the door, walked in and the suite was quite dark, I put on a dim light because the kids were tired,” visitor Sonja said.

She opened up the hideaway bed in the living room before getting ready for bed. 

“My daughter undressed, I undressed, I helped my son to undress and change his diaper, I can’t remember if I fed him or not,” Sonja said.

When Joe came inside he noticed a red light in the corner of the living room. 

“They did have the sign that I would eventually notice, I’m the type that I walk in and I check the place out thoroughly anyways,” visitor Joe said. 

However, at that time, he didn’t see the posted sign. 

Instead he covered up and unplugged the camera. Eventually he e-mailed the hosts, asking for the footage the camera recorded.

“I asked for the video back of my daughter undressing. Just to see if it was a mistake. Their e-mail back said it’s a dummy camera and it’s not real, it’s only to scare intruders. They said that was posted on the Airbnb website that they had which it clearly wasn’t on. I already have the old ad still on my camera,” Joe said.

According to the Airbnb spokesperson, the owners said the camera in this incident was livestreaming and not recording.

Having a camera in common areas is allowed under the company’s rules, but hosts are required to disclose if active recording is taking place. 

The family claims there was no information online about the surveillance camera. 

Airbnb claims it did have a warning on its listing. The company provided these still images of its online booking page as proof.

However, the visitors say it wasn’t on the page when they did their booking. The spokesperson also says a copy of the house manual was sent to the family before they arrived, which also revealed the presence of a camera on property.

Airbnb also points out that inside the suite there are posted signs advising visitors to unplug the security camera after arrival, which is exactly what Joe did.

“Whatever the intentions may be, or whatever the hosts may fell, it’s still not right,” Joe said.

According to Airbnb it offered the family an alternative place to stay after discovering the camera, but they declined. 

“I think it is a very big deal out there, no one wants to be videotaped,” Joe said. 

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