Monday, March 7, 2016

TRAVEL | Lessons from Erin Andrews Fears (Comment)

Erin Andrews.
A Nashville jury has awarded Erin Andrews $55 million in a damage suit against a stalker (51% responsible) with a camera, who in 2009 posted a 5-minute video of her in her hotel room when she was getting ready to retire for the evening, and a Marriott hotel (49%) that disclosed to the stalker what room she was in.

Andrews is a sports reporter for Fox News, after many years at ESPN. The stalker manipulated the peephole to take the video.

To emphasize the fear that the invasion-of-privacy trauma created, Andrews listed precautions she says she now takes when she travels.
  1. If a specific room has been booked for her, she changes it.
  2. She tells the front desk a man is traveling with her whether or not it is the case. 
  3. She never allows porters to bring her bags to her room. 
  4. Ditto for food in the room – no room service.
  5. She leaves the Do Not Disturb sign outside all the time.
  6. She checks the bed, clock, air-conditioning grate and especially the bathroom for hidden cameras.
  7. She covers the front-door peephole.
  8. She won't stay in a room that is part of connected suite.

Some of these fears do sound trauma-induced. But others are good ideas for anyone to bear in mind. My candidates for silly, at least for most travelers: 1, 3, 5, 7. My candidates for good ideas are 2, 4, 6.

Fortunately for anyone staying in hotels, the heavy penalty imposed on the Marriott is doubtless prompting some more rigorous privacy safeguards.

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