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Tourist sues Airbnb after finding hidden camera in flat

The Local · 14 Jan 2016, 12:25

Published: 14 Jan 2016 12:25 GMT+01:00

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Yvonne Schumacher was staying at an California apartment rented over Airbnb with her partner when she made the discovery, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Now she is taking the company to court in San Francisco.

While staying at the property, she would walk through the apartment to use the guest bathroom because the main one didn't meet her German standards of cleanliness, the complaint states.

“For a German, the bathroom wasn't exactly clean,” her lawyer has said.

But the route to the smaller bathroom took Schumacher through the living room, where unknown to her she was being filmed.

Believing herself to be in complete privacy, Schumacher walked through the flat naked. She know fears that nude pictures of her could appear on public internet forums or be used to blackmail her.

What's more, the camera also picked up “personal and intimate” conversations with her partner, Schumacher argues.

The couple eventually noticed the hidden device after seeing a light emerging from behind two candles on a shelf.

On closer inspection they noticed that the camera not only had a wide angle lens, but it was also being remotely controlled, meaning it could follow their movements around the room.

"Mrs. Schumacher is deeply humiliated and angry about the fact that the camera was and/or could have been used to spy upon her while she was completely undressed and walking around within the property," the lawsuit says.

The German woman is suing Airbnb for negligence, claiming that the company does no vetting of people who rent properties through its internet platform.

According to Schumacher's lawyer, even after she made the complaint, the company allowed the owners of the property to keep renting it out through their platform.

Airbnb defended itself by claiming that such cases are extremely rare.

“Over 65 million guests have had positive trusting experiences with Airbnb,” they told SZ.

But this is far from the first time that the internet portal, with a net worth of roughly €25 billion, has been in the headlines for misbehaviour by landlords or guests.

One apartment owner discovered that her property had been used to shoot a porno film. In another in Canada several cameras were discovered by guests.

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