• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Tourist sues Airbnb after finding hidden camera in flat
It might have been more polite to post a sign. Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr

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

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.

Story continues below…

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.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Raging ticket controller seizes Chinese traveler's passport
File photo of a plainclothes ticket controller. Photo: DPA.

Germany's national rail operator is in hot water after a ticket controller reacted aggressively to a newly arrived Chinese traveler who made one of the most basic transit mistakes: forgetting to stamp her ticket.

Berlin politician crusades for health of skateboarding dog
File photo: DPA

Can a canine enjoy skateboarding? That's the question Berlin politicians are struggling to address in a row over a dog on four wheels.

Police hunt Brits who Hitler-saluted in concentration camp
Buchenwald. Photo: DPA

Authorities in Germany are searching for two British men who took a picture of themselves performing a Nazi salute in a torture chamber in Buchenwald concentration camp.

Far-right tries to lure voters with own-brand gummy bears

Germany's far-right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), have come up with an unusual marketing strategy on their website.

How your boss can still pay lower than the minimum wage
A protest in front of the Chancellery in 2013. Photo: DPA

German workers are disappointed about the first-ever court ruling on the country's year-old minimum wage law.

'Shit show' Berlin airport
Plan to open Berlin airport in 2017 finally (inevitably) dead
Passengers won't be walking beneath Willy Brandt's name in lights any time soon. Photo: DPA

Travellers are set to wait still longer for Berlin's much-delayed new airport to open, as city media report that a provisional opening date in late 2017 is no longer achievable.

Hero bin man saves child from 2nd storey plunge
Bogdan W. (r) with four-year-old Eden. Photo: DPA

A young boy had a miraculous rescue in western Germany on Wednesday when a bin man happened to see him hanging from the window ledge and managed to catch him just in time.

Church hides refugees from state in Bavarian beauty spot
The view near Tutzing on Lake Starnberg. Photo: DPA

The Catholic Church in southern Bavaria is offering religious asylum to refugees who fled Isis, and who the state now wants to deport.

German firm fights years-long battle to crack Rubik's Cube
Photo: DPA

A German toy manufacturer is nearing success in its long battle to be able to make a Rubik's Cube all of its own.

The Local List
13 (even more) thrilling facts you must know about Berlin
Berlin, du bist so wunderbar. Photo: DPA.

Berlin is just so gosh darn interesting, we couldn't fit it all into the first list on our website of infinite virtual space.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
Headless Lübeck corpse turns out to be discarded sex doll
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
7,841
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd