Hotel

Couple find “spy camera” hidden in clock at Airbnb flat

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A couple claims[nbsp_tc]to have discovered a secret camera hidden in a digital clock in the Airbnb flat they were renting.

By Zoe Drewett

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Dougie Hamilton and his girlfriend say the camera – which was pointed towards their bed in the holiday apartment – was disguised as a clock but looked suspicious. The 34-year-old said he started investigating the clock after a day of exploring in Toronto, Canada.

He had recently watched a YouTube video on secret ‘spy’ cameras hidden in cuddly toys and buttons, Dougie said. But when he picked up the clock he managed to slide its face off quite easily and was horrified to find a tiny lens that may have been recording them.

On September 7, Dougie, from Glasgow, posted about his discovery on Facebook, writing: If you use Airbnb, then you’ll definitely want to read this and possibly stop using them.’

He explained: We booked a one night stay in a lovely apartment in the center of Toronto last night (September 6). We had a crazy busy day around the city and finally were able to get to the Airbnb and relax or so we thought. I was laying on the couch and this digital clock is facing into the living area and open plan bedroom Left with my thoughts, that video pops into my head, “imagine if it was the spy camera in the clock”.

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After removing the clock’s charger and discovering a lithium battery in the back of the device the front face of the clock cam off and revealed the camera. The couple have since alerted Airbnb and police in Canada, who are both investigating. Speaking to the Daily Record, Dougie said: (Airbnb) told us the property owner has six other properties and hundreds of reviews, so it looks like we’ve been lucky. We were only in the place for 20 minutes when I noticed the clock. It was connected to a wire like a phone charger which wasn’t quite right. I felt a bit weird even thinking it and I kept telling myself not to be daft. But there was just something.

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Dougie and his girlfriend – who asked not to be named – said they found the encounter ‘creepy’. A spokeswoman for Toronto police said: We received a call last Thursday regarding what appeared to be a video camera in a clock in an apartment. The investigation is continuing. Airbnb has also told Dougie its security team are looking into the claims and offered him a full refund. They said they would be canceling upcoming reservations for the owner’s properties, he added. A spokesperson for Airbnb said: We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero tolerance policy for this behavior. We have removed the host from the platform while we investigate and are providing the guest with our full support.

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Creepy hostel owner caught using remote-controlled cameras hidden inside shampoo bottles to film women in the shower – and then put the clips on porn sites

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New Zealand man pleaded guilty to charges related to secretly filming guests[nbsp_tc][br_tc]The court heard the man would film female guests at his homestay property[nbsp_tc][br_tc]He would put hidden cameras in shampoo bottles and upload footage[nbsp_tc]online[nbsp_tc]

By[nbsp_tc]ADAM MCCLEERY

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A[nbsp_tc]New Zealand[nbsp_tc]man has pleaded guilty to secretly filming female guests while they showered at his homestay property by using cameras hidden in shampoo bottles.[nbsp_tc]

The Hawke’s Bay man faced the Hastings District Court and pleaded guilty to a combined 51 charges.[nbsp_tc]

The court heard he had made up to 219 recordings of 34 different women who had stayed with him before uploading them to a porn website.[nbsp_tc]

Stuff[nbsp_tc]reported that the man would allow guests to us the shower in the property, but had to organise times first.[nbsp_tc]

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Once those times were organized, the man would place shampoo bottles with hidden cameras around the bathroom and shower, the court heard.[nbsp_tc]

He would then use a remote control to turn them on, catching guests in the shower and undressing.[nbsp_tc]

He would wait until his house guests left the bathroom before retrieving the hidden cameras and uploading footage to his personal hard drive.

Once he had uploaded the videos online, he also encouraged users to leave ‘positive comments’, it was reported.

The court heard the man would caption the videos and describe his victims by race and occupation.[nbsp_tc]

In one case the man also added his own commentary to a video.[nbsp_tc]

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The man’s identity was suppressed by the court, despite the pleas of crown prosecutor Steve Manning.[nbsp_tc]

‘There are 34 victims whose most intimate images have been spread all over the world,’ he said.[nbsp_tc][nbsp_tc]

The man’s lawyer, Matt Phelps, requested the suppression order to protect the man’s wife who he said suffers from a condition which would be compounded if he were identified,’ the[nbsp_tc]New Zealand Herald[nbsp_tc]reported.

Judge Geoff Rea imposed the suppression order and also granted the man bail pending his sentence at the[nbsp_tc]Napier District Court in October.

The most serious charges the man faces carry a maximum jail term of 14 years.

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Chinese peeping Tom installed secret cameras to film couples in love hotels and sell footage online

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Man accused of selling footage through popular social media platform

by Nectar Gan

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A man has been arrested in southwest China on suspicion of installing webcams in hotels to film couples having sex and then selling the footage online, according to local media reports.

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When the couple went to bed they looked up and saw a hole in the ceiling, which they examined and found a camera had been hidden inside pointing directly at the bed.

The two immediately called the police, who soon arrived and took out the camera.

Police found no memory cards inside so concluded it was a real-time webcam that sent footage to another platform.

“My whole body just froze up,” said the woman, who then decided to spend the night sleeping in the car with her husband.

The next day, the couple went to the hotel to demand an explanation, but the hotel said it was not aware the camera was there.

After further investigation, a second webcam was found in a room on the same floor.

Hotel staff told police they remembered that a man had booked two rooms at the hotel in March and checked in on his own. The two rooms he had booked turned out to be the ones that had the cameras installed.

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A month later, police seized the suspect in his flat, and found two hard drives totalling 3 terrabtyes of memory containing the sex tapes he had recorded.

The man was reported to have told police he came up with the idea because he was broke and wanted to earn some quick money by selling the clandestine footage.

He first installed cameras in hotels in his home county about 100km (60 miles) away from Chengdu, but the people who checked in to the hotels were “not ideal”, he said.

Following suggestions from his customers, he decided to install cameras in more expensive hotels in the provincial capital, and bought a fake identity card online.

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Through mobile apps, he located love hotels popular among young couples. But the first camera he installed in January was soon discovered by a hotel staff member and thrown away.

Not ready to give up, he tried again in March.

The two cameras he is accused of installing then had been connected to the power strip in the ceiling and could be automatically turned on when the customers plugged in the room key.

The report said footage was directly sent to the man’s phone and then uploaded to a computer.

Police believe the man created a chat group on QQ, a popular social media platform, and started to absorb “members” who would pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to the footage.

In just a few months, the monthly fee rose from 400 yuan (US$60) per month to 2,000 yuan. He had about 10 “members” in total and made 15,000 yuan, he said.

The man has now been officially arrested on the charge of spreading obscene articles. There was no word on whether police would seek to take action against his subscribers.

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HAVEN: EDWARD SNOWDEN APP SPIES ON ANYONE THAT TRIES TO STEAL OR TAMPER WITH YOUR BELONGINGS

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The software can capture crucial evidence that can make it easier to identify potential criminals

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Edward Snowden speaks via video link during a conference at University of Buenos Aires Law School, Argentina, November 14, 2016 / REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

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Edward Snowden is behind a new security app that can catch anyone who tries to steal or tamper with your belongings when you aren’t around.

The app, called Haven, uses a smartphone’s various sensors to detect when your possessions might be at risk from intruders and capture evidence.

You can then remotely monitor any activity going on in the physical space around them, to make it easier to identify any potential criminals.

The software isn’t designed to be installed on your main smartphone, but a cheap, secondary “burner” mobile you’d be happy to leave behind with the possessions you want to protect.[nbsp_tc]

“Haven detects changes in the environment using the sensors in a typical smartphone—the camera, microphone, gyroscope, accelerometer, ambient light, USB power—to alert you if anyone enters your space or attempts to tamper with your devices while you aren’t there,” said the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the board of which Edward Snowden is president.

The app monitors these sensors for “a measurable change” in the environment around it, detecting any noises and visible motion, as well as whether or not the phone has been moved or unplugged from its charger, and any changes in air pressure and light conditions.

It’s designed to provide protection in a multitude of situations, including home invasions, burglaries, human rights office raids, kidnappings and vandalism.

Haven only saves images and audio when it’s triggered by motion or volume, and stores everything locally on the device it’s installed on.

“Haven turns any Android phone into a motion, sound, vibration and light detector, watching for unexpected guests and unwanted intruders,”said the Guardian Project.

“You can position the device’s camera to capture visible motion, or set your phone somewhere discreet to just listen for noises. Get secure notifications of intrusion events instantly and access the logs remotely or any time later.”

It’s currently only available on Android devices, but the Guardian Project says it hopes to support an iOS version of the app in the future.

Though Haven is built primarily for “journalists and human rights defenders”, it can be used by anyone who owns an Android phone.

Source: Indipendent

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Uber stole trade secrets, bribed foreign officials and spied on rivals, filing says

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Document by former Uber security manager details company’s alleged ‘unethical, unlawful’ practices amid legal battle with self-driving car company Waymo

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Uber allegedly engaged in a range of “unethical and unlawful intelligence collections”, including the theft of competitive trade secrets, bribery of foreign officials and spying on competitors and politicians, according to an explosive legal document published on Friday.

It’s the latest chapter in the discovery process for the company’s messy legal squabble with Waymo, Google’s driverless car spin-off, which has accused Uber of stealing trade secrets.

The details were outlined in a 37-page demand letter filed by the ex-Uber security manager Richard Jacobs, who left the company earlier this year. The document paints a picture of a team of employees dedicated to spying on rivals and “impeding” legal investigations into the company.

Jacobs alleges that when he raised concerns over the techniques being used, he was given a poor performance review and demoted as “pure retaliation” for refusing to buy into the culture of “achieving business goals through illegal conduct even though equally aggressive legal means were available”.

[br_tc]He had sent the letter to Uber’s in-house counsel with his allegations about possible criminal activity carried out by the special group in May this year, threatening to sue the company. Uber did not provide the letter to Waymo as part of legal discovery before the trial started.

An Uber spokeswoman said in a statement: “While we haven’t substantiated all the claims in this letter – and, importantly, any related to Waymo – our new leadership has made clear that going forward we will compete honestly and fairly, on the strength of our ideas and technology.”

Jacobs worked at the ride-hailing company from March 2016 until April 2017. After his attorney sent the demand letter to Uber outlining potentially criminal activities within Uber’s “strategic services group” and “marketplace analytics” teams, he and Uber reached a $4.5m settlement. This included a non-disparagement clause and a one-year consulting contract to help Uber “root out bad behaviour”, Jacobs said when he testified in federal court last month.

[br_tc]The letter alleges, among other things, that Uber planned to use certain hardware devices and software to conceal the creation and destruction of corporate records so they “would never be subject to legal discovery”. Such records would, the letter states, “implicate ongoing discovery disputes such as those in Uber’s litigation with Waymo”.

The letter also outlines a range of intrusive techniques that Uber allegedly used to extract intelligence from politicians, regulators, competitors, taxi organisations and activists.

Uber’s intelligence team allegedly infiltrated private event spaces at hotel and conference facilities that a group of competing executives used during their stay. Jacobs claimed that Uber recorded and observed private conversations among the executives including their real-time reactions to the news that Uber would receive $3.4bn from the Saudi government.

Live updates, photos and videos were then allegedly transmitted back to the “War Room” at Uber’s headquarters, where the company’s former CEO, Travis Kalanick, along with other members of Uber’s executive team, could observe.

Uber operatives also impersonated taxi drivers, Jacobs said, to infiltrate private Facebook groups and WhatsApp groups of opponents.

Matthew Umhofer, an attorney representing four members of Uber’s security team mentioned in the letter, added: “The competitive information gathering that was done at the explicit request of management was unremarkable and no different than what’s done by law-abiding companies across the country and Uber’s own competitors.”

Umhofer also described the letter as “character assassination for cash” and said that Jacobs “is nothing more than a failed Uber employee who underperformed and got demoted, and then retaliated against his supervisors”.

During his testimony last month, Jacobs repudiated some of the allegations made in his demand letter, saying that he had only reviewed it for 20 minutes before his lawyer had sent it. Among those was the allegation that “Uber used the marketplace analytics team to steal trade secrets at least from Waymo in the United States”. Jacobs said that the team primarily worked overseas, but in the US had researched “protest and threat groups targeting Uber”.

[br_tc]Waymo sued Uber in February, alleging that the ride-hail company’s acquisition of the self-driving startup Otto, founded by the former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski, was actually a scheme to acquire secrets stolen from Waymo.

The federal judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the trade secrets case, was only alerted to the existence of the explosive demand letter by federal prosecutors on 22 November in a separate letter in which they confirmed that there was an open criminal investigation into Uber. “You should have come clean with this long ago,” he subsequently told Uber’s lawyers in court.

Because such a key piece of evidence had been withheld, Alsup delayed the start of the trial.

“If even half of what’s in that letter is true, it would be a huge injustice to force Waymo to go to trial” as scheduled, he said.

At the time, a spokeswoman for Waymo called the new evidence “significant and troubling” and welcomed the trial delay as an “opportunity to fully investigate this new, highly relevant information”.

But an Uber spokeswoman, Chelsea Kohler, said in a statement then: “None of the testimony today changes the merits of the case. Jacobs himself said on the stand today that he was not aware of any Waymo trade secrets being stolen.”

Uber maintained that it did not withhold information because the letter was outside of Waymo’s discovery demands. The special master, a court official helping out with the trial, did not agree, concluding in a report filed on Friday that “Uber should have produced” the Jacobs demand letter in response to Waymo’s discovery requests.

Source: The Guardian

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Family finds hidden camera in Carnival Cruise stateroom

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A family from Florida is demanding answers from Carnival Cruise Line after finding a hidden camera behind their cabin’s television during an October vacation.

The device was reportedly discovered by the family’s father during an allergy attack, after he moved the TV to inspect for dust. Sticking out from the wires, he said, was a small camera — still warm to the touch — with its lens pointing directly at the bed, The Miami New Times reported. He also snapped photos of what appeared to be an antenna on the back of the device.

The family, who did not wish to be named, added that they only found the camera on the second night of their Carnival Fantasy voyage from Alabama to Mexico.

“I asked my wife, ‘What is this? Is this what I think it is?’ We both just went white as ghosts,” he told the New Times.

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The man added that he was especially disturbed by the implications this might have for his underage child.

“My main concern is there is video of him online now. And I’ll never know,” he told The Miami Herald.

The ship’s security team sent an officer to the family’s cabin to inspect and dismantle the camera, but the family feels Carnival’s staff tried to downplay the severity of the situation, telling them it was not in working condition, and likely left by the recent guest despite the camera being covered in dust, the New Times reports.

The dad also believes the staff may have compromised the evidence by handling the camera without gloves, as seen in footage uploaded to the YouTube channel Cruise Law.

A subsequent statement from Carnival Cruise Line reiterated that the camera was non-operational, and further claimed that Carnival conducted a “full investigation” in accordance with U.S. authorities.

“In October, a small, non-working camera was found in a cabin aboard Carnival Fantasy during a cruise departing from Mobile, Ala. After review by the ship’s technicians, it was determined that device was not operational,” the cruise line stated.

“A full investigation was conducted by the shipboard team in tandem with Carnival’s shoreside security personnel who also notified U.S. law enforcement, including the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and local police, when the ship arrived in Mobile following the cruise.”

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The family told the Herald that Carnival has not reached out with further information, or even an apology, following the incident. They are currently in contact with maritime lawyer James Walker, but do not yet plan to file a lawsuit, according to the Herald.

“We weren’t trying to get any money; we weren’t trying to get a free cruise,” the father tells the Herald. “I just wanted to have action taken on it.”

Source: FoxNews

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Police: Greenville man arrested after hidden camera found in Airbnb rental

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -Greenville police said a man was arrested Saturday after a hidden camera was found in a room he rented to a woman via Airbnb.

Police said the victim called them after discovering the camera, which was intended to record her, in an apartment unit[nbsp_tc]on Woodruff Road.

It was an odd discovery, the camera was found inside an alarm clock on a bedroom dresser. The victim told police it appeared out of no where a couple days into her stay.

“She began manipulating the alarm clock and realized there wasn’t an on or off switch,” said Sgt. Johnathan Bragg. “So she realized it was probably a camera and she left the apartment.”

The victim, a 26-year-old woman from Calhoun, GA, said she had used the online lodging accommodation service AirBnb to rent the room from the suspect, Ceser Adam Mendez Fuentes.

The victim, who worked as a travel nurse immediately put a warning online to a group of other nurses. It was just in the knick of time, several others came forward and said they were planning their stay, hoping to rent from the same suspect.

“Basically one of the girls had said “Oh my gosh, I just contacted him. He was very nice and really personable”‘, said Travel Nurse Deidre Murdoch. “She was saying she was glad she read the warning.”

Murdoch said she’s been a travel nurse for years, and she said Airbnb has really taken off for those starting out in the profession, but she said she’s had a few scares of her own.

“Check your surroundings,” Murdoch said. “I made a joke earlier about looking under the toilet seats, but that’s not funny. That stuff happens, look in your vents, anything that you’re nervous about, anything that looks out of place, don’t stay there.”

Mendez Fuentes, 35, was charged with voyeurism and was being held in the Greenville County Detention Center on Monday on a $5,000 bond.

Police said this case crossed a fine line between protecting your space and invading someone’s privacy.

“The camera in your own space and in your own home is fine,” Bragg said. “But when you have an Airbnb and you’re renting it out for purposes of spying on someone or looking at someone in an intimate space such as a bedroom dresser that’s where it crosses the line of voyeurism.”

Airbnb issued the following statement on the case:

“Airbnb takes privacy extremely seriously and there is absolutely no place in our community for this kind of illegal and outrageous behavior. The individual involved has been permanently banned from our community and our guest has received our full support. We have reached out to law enforcement to offer our assistance with their investigation.[nbsp_tc]We hope justice will be served quickly. Cameras are never allowed in bathrooms or bedrooms and any other camera must be disclosed ahead of time.”[nbsp_tc]

A spokesperson for Airbnb said hosts are required to disclose all surveillance devices in their residence. The company prohibits rentals with surveillance devices in private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms.

If an Airbnb host violates this policy, they are immediately suspended and removed from the system, the spokesperson said.

By Dal Kalsi[br_tc]By Kayla Conboy

Copyright 2017 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Source: FOX Carolina

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New York City Airbnb guest who ‘hid cameras in a bathroom so he could watch people on the toilet and in the shower’ is arrested and banned from the rental website

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• Airbnb guest Ron Rothman allegedly planted cameras in the bathroom to secretly watch roommates

• The host filed a complaint after she noticed that his iPhone was using an app called Cambush, which enables recording to occur using motion-detection

• Rothman admitted the iPhone was his and has since been arrested by police[nbsp_tc]

• Airbnb released a statement confirming Rothman has been permanently banned

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An Airbnb guest allegedly planted cameras in the bathroom of an apartment in New York City[nbsp_tc]so he could secretly watch his two roommates on the toilet and in the shower.

Ron Rothman, 44, supposedly hid the cameras in the three-bedroom apartment[nbsp_tc]on Mulberry Street hosted by a woman and her roommate.

The secret devices were allegedly planted by Rothman Monday while he was staying in one of the rooms.[nbsp_tc]

Police say the cameras were made to look like cellphone chargers and were equipped with remote-viewing capability.

Apparently when Rothman arrived the host noticed an iPhone inside a backpack, with its camera positioned toward the toilet.[nbsp_tc]

The Airbnb host told police she became concerned when Rothman asked about her and her roommate’s bathroom habits.

He especially wanted to know the particular times they would go to the bathroom.

In a complaint she filed Wednesday the host revealed said found a recording device plugged into the electrical outlet.

She claimed she noticed his iPhone was using an app called Cambush, which enables recording to occur using motion-detection.

Rothman admitted the iPhone was his and was consequently arrested and charged with unlawful surveillance, regarded as a felony.

Airbnb spokesman Jeff Henry released a statement with regards to this situation saying the company has offered to assist law enforcement in its investigation, while also confirming[nbsp_tc]Rothman has been permanently banned from the Airbnb community.

‘Airbnb takes privacy extremely seriously and there is absolutely no place in our community for this kind of illegal and outrageous behavior,’ Henry said.[nbsp_tc]

The policy of Airbnb policy states cameras are not allowed in bathrooms or bedrooms.

Any other cameras must be disclosed ahead of time.

Source: Daily Mail

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