Hidden Cameras in Hotels – Common Voyeurism Practice or Legitimate Security Measures?

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While most hotels never have a privacy issue, there have been several reports over the years of people finding hidden cameras in hotels. Violation of privacy rights and disturbing voyeurs should be a non-issue at a hotel, and rarely is. However, when a spy camera is found, management has a lot of explaining to do to the customer and the police.

On “The Early Show” in July of 2009, the president of Insite Security, Chris Faulkenberg showed how easy it was for a hotel to place hidden cameras inside your room. He warns that hidden cameras in hotels can be placed in clocks, smoke alarms, and in items. His suggestion is to use your own electronics in hotels if possible. According to Faulkenberg, if there are two smoke detectors in one room then there is an issue because one can fit cameras inside a single detector and view the whole room. There is no need for a second detector and it may contain a camera itself.

Checking for strange wires or mini-cameras pointing through small holes in the wall may also indicate there are hidden cameras in the hotel room. Faulkenberg says that the technology exists to place hidden cameras in virtually anything in your hotel room.
Another story by Fox News reported that the company Counter Spy Shops was selling hidden surveillance for hotels. Counter Spy Shops says that the reasons for a hidden camera in your hotel room may be legitimate. An unnamed hotel claims that hidden camera devices were installed. So there are in fact hidden cameras in hotels. What is the purpose?

The defense of placing hidden cameras in hotel rooms is that they are only active when the guest is out and housekeeping, engineering, or handymen jobs are taking place. The hidden cameras in hotels are there to “protect you.” Few people buy this story, but there is actually no general law against spying on people. Specific laws may exist in certain cases, but ordinary surveillance without the other person’s knowledge is actually quite legal.

The thought of someone prying in and viewing you without your knowledge is disturbing and frightening. The truth is that there are hidden cameras in hotels, but the most up-to-date information is not available as to who practices this anti-moral behavior. The government under the Patriot Act claims to have authority to bug and record anything without a warrant. Sadly that is a lost freedom in the United States.

As for night clerks who may be getting kicks by watching someone shower from hidden cameras in hotel rooms, there really is no way to know other than by checking yourself. A professional can hide the camera anywhere, and you may never actually find the hidden camera in the hotel. While it may be legal to have cameras up for security reasons, it is illegal for someone to set up hidden cameras for personal viewing reasons. If caught, the defendant must prove in court that the hidden camera in a hotel room was necessary.

Coming from another angle of the topic of hidden cameras in hotels; several hidden cameras were put into hotel rooms by Fox News. The hidden cameras caught housekeeping taking, drinking glasses and cleaning them incorrectly, if at all. The two hotels that were caught in this embarrassment, Embassy Suites and Holiday Inn have refused to ever comment on the video. The hidden camera also caught a housekeeper clean the toilet and then use the same cleaning gloves washing drinking glasses with a “Do Not Drink” substance labeled on the spray bottle. Health inspectors have unanimously agreed that this breaks health codes.

Hidden cameras in hotel rooms are a positive thing if you place them to watch your housekeeper who may be stealing, cleaning incorrectly, or doing something else that is wrong. However the majority of hidden cameras in hotels come from the hotel and/or its employees themselves, not travelers.

There is no way to know the actual amount of hidden cameras in hotels, and there never will be. Cameras can be hidden anywhere now. Micro-cameras which are as small as a pen tip can now be purchased. We will never know the complete truth on what hotels are truly doing with recorded videos. If you suspect that you are in a hotel room with cameras, then you should ask for another room or rather a different hotel.