Members of a bridal party are demanding a refund from their rural Auckland accommodation after they discovered a camera hidden in a light bulb.
Bridesmaid Sarah Muir said on discovering the 360-degree camera, which also recorded noises, they decided to all get dressed in the bathroom in the rural West Auckland property.
Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Muir told how they arrived at the property, booked through booking.com, on the Friday evening and had just finished watching the news and being left “weirded out” after watching a segment on a man who put double-sided mirrors in his bathroom.
The group of five then joked about there being hidden cameras in their rented house, when Muir looked up and noticed one of the light bulbs looked different from the others.
“We’d set up the wedding, had dinner and were just sitting around having a wine, going over the bride’s vows and then that came up on the news, we joked and then we saw it.
“We searched the rest of the house and we couldn’t find anything that looked like that but we don’t know if they had other types of hidden cameras around. We just made sure that we got changed in the bathroom from then on, we thought that would be the safest place.”
She said they were horrified by the find.
“We were pretty violated. If we hadn’t have found that, we would have been getting changed in there the next day.
“If they have it for surveillance you need to actually advise people. We wouldn’t have booked it if we had known there was a camera there.”
A spokesperson for Booking.com said the company was “concerned by the experience reported and are investigating fully”.
Privacy law expert Kathryn Dalziel told TVNZ1’s Breakfast this is something that just shouldn’t happen, but it is becoming a common occurance.
“We need to be concerned, this isn’t the first time it’s happened… …it’s happening more and more frequently.”
She says if guests “were in their underwear” on camera the guests would have grounds to lay a complaint with police. But in this particular case the guests laid a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner.
“It is illegal so the big risk for an owner in that environment is that they can even be down to their underwear and that would make it a crime because if they capture somebody in their underwear, not just naked that would be an intimate visual recording,” Ms Dalziel said.
She says home owners who lease out their houses need to be very careful about putting cameras inside their homes.
“They’re leasing that out to somebody and nobody likes being video or audio taped without their consent, which unsurprisingly the law agrees.”
Ms Dalziel warns home owners that if you are going to have a camera in your house, tell the people hiring the place you have a camera there.
“If the home owner tells them there is a camera there, it’s perfectly legal.”
Image: Michael Kouk