Davis, McNeill bill would require lodging hosts to divulge recording devices

Recent case involving 10 cameras underscores need for law in Pa.

HARRISBURG, June 15 – State Reps. Tina Davis and Jeanne McNeil have introduced H.B. 2120, which would require lodging hosts to disclose the presence of recording devices on properties, preventing guests in Pennsylvania from unknowingly being recorded, like what happened recently in Philadelphia.

Currently, Pennsylvania does not have a law addressing undisclosed recording devices such as hidden cameras in host-lodging sites.

“The rise of hosting platforms has allowed private citizens to rent their residences to people from across the globe for a few days or up to a few weeks,” Davis said. “However, these short-term rentals come with risks to the consumer’s privacy. Too many individuals have come forward about the owners of these residences using hidden cameras and secretly recording those occupying the residence. This creates an invasion of privacy, which endangers individuals and families with children.”

The legislators acknowledged that some cameras could have a legitimate purpose for the safety of both the owner and consumer, but said the consumer needs to be made aware of all recording devices.

“Where people can stay when they travel has changed greatly,” McNeill said. “A person is no longer limited to staying in a traditional hotel. More options provide more opportunities to choose unique locations at a fairer and more budget-friendly price. However, we cannot sacrifice safety and privacy for convenience. This legislation would protect the privacy of those traveling across the commonwealth.”

An individual found to be using hidden recording devices without disclosing their location would be charged with a felony under the bill.