The Illusion of Hotel Privacy

More heat billows off the Erin Andrews snoopgate affair, as experts weigh in on who the spy might be.  Some say it had to be an insider, others hypothesize that anyone with a cellphone videocamer was good to go.  Our bet is on a hotel employee with a hunger for easy dough and with a cellphone in hand.  We doubt fancy equipment played a role.

For hotel guests, anywhere, this raises worrisome memories of the wholesale peeping and eavesdropping by East Germany’s Stasi, who probably spied on every US tourist who stayed overnight in the DDR.  But guests today, just about anywhere, ought to be raiing questions about exactly how private their stay really will be.

China, for instance, apparently committed massive privacy invasion on western guests during the Olympics.  ABC reported: “Several major international hotel chains confirmed receiving the order to install online monitoring devices….

One major international hotel chain, which operates in several Olympic host cities, told ABC News on condition of anonymity that they were recently contacted by Chinese authorities who requested that hotels install monitoring devices in their rooms, allowing the authorities to spy on guests. This hotel chain, independently contacted by ABC, said that if they are forced, they will install the devices.”

Don’t think China is alone.  It isn’t.  And don’t think most spying is in effect authorized, by the state ot the hotel itself.  Our bet is that many low-paid hotel employees dream and scheme about the worth of a sex tape, a nude shot, the right intercepted phone call on tape.


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