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

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

By Zoe Drewett

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”.


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.


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.



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

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

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. 

“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