Cameras in Bathrooms? Sochi Official Raises Ruckus
But Russia now swears guests' hotel rooms aren't under surveillance
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2014 2:18 PM CST
Building debris is left outside the Gorki Grand hotel in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, Sunday. The IOC is urging Russian Olympic organizers to move quickly to resolve the issue of accommodations that are...   (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

(Newser) – We've had missing yogurt, dog poisonings, concerns about toothpaste bombs, and complaints about gross hotel rooms, but this probably takes the lead as the weirdest/scariest story out of the Sochi Olympics so far: Alleged shower surveillance. The fuss started when a Russian official, in rebutting claims of those lousy hotel rooms, accused foreigners of sabotage with this quote to the Wall Street Journal:

  • "We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall, and then leave the room for the whole day."

That set off a furious Internet reaction, most of it along the lines of the Huffington Post's "He's Watching You Shower!" headline, accompanied by a photo of Vladimir Putin. Amid the outcry, a spokesman for the original Russian official walked back the statement. "No such thing was ever said," he asserted, suggesting that it was either a mistranslation or a joke, reports AP. He insisted that no guests' hotel room have surveillance cameras. Of course, NBC reporter Richard Engel said this week that his equipment got hacked as soon as he arrived in Russia, notes HuffPo. “The State Department warns that travelers should have no expectation of privacy," he said. "Even in their hotel rooms."