Airbnb is being sued by a German woman who claims she was filmed by a hidden camera as she walked around naked in her rental property, The Recorder reports.
Schumacher was staying in the apartment with her partner Kevin Stockton, who made the Airbnb booking. The couple say they found a remote-controlled wireless camera hidden on a living room shelf between some candles, according to the legal filing.
Plaintiff Yvonne Schumacher is also suing Fariah Hassim and Jamil Jiva, the residents of the property, which is in Irvine, California.
Schumacher and Stockton — who stayed at the property in December 2013 — are concerned that the camera may have listened in on their “personal and intimate” conversations.
The case, filed in San Francisco on Monday, brings two charges of negligence against Airbnb, in addition to charges of wiretapping, privacy intrusion, and infliction of emotional distress against Hassim and Jiva.
In the legal suit, Schumacher says she told Airbnb about the camera but the company allowed the couple to carry on listing their property on its site. Airbnb has previously said it has a “zero tolerance policy” for hidden cameras and would immediately remove a host who secretly recorded their guests.
“While staying as a guest in the property, at night Mrs. Schumacher would sleep without any clothing, believing that with the front door closed and the window blinds drawn throughout the property, she was protected and free from prying eyes,” writes Schumacher’s lawyer. “This natural presumption proved to be incorrect.”
Schumacher’s lawyer added: “Little to no effort is undertaken by Airbnb by way of a vetting process with respect to these hosts to ensure the safety and welfare of the third parties renting properties through Airbnb.”
The lawyer added that the company fails/failed to do meaningful background checks and verify personal details of the lessors.
An Airbnb spokesperson told Business Insider: “Though we do not comment on pending litigation we will defend it vigorously. Airbnb takes privacy issues extremely seriously.
“All hosts must certify that they comply with all applicable laws in their locations and are of course expected to respect the privacy of their guests. Airbnb asks hosts to fully disclose whether there are security cameras or other surveillance equipment at or around the listing and to get consent where required.”
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