That was when he saw the light. Two small, black, rectangular boxes were stacked next to an outlet on the far side of the guest room, both facing the bed. From afar, they looked like phone chargers. But when Vest got closer, he realized they were cameras, and they were recording.

He quickly got dressed, grabbed his belongings, and pocketed the cameras’ memory cards as evidence. Then panic set in: It was almost midnight, and he was alone in the home of someone whose name he didn’t even know, apparently being recorded. What’s more, his host could have been watching as he discovered the cameras.

“I didn’t know if I was being watched live,” Vest told me in January. “What I’ve found since is that [the cameras] record to a memory card, but they can also stream live. The host could’ve been watching. Anybody could have been watching.” (The company denied The Atlantic’s, and Vest’s, requests for Ralph’s full name and identity, citing its privacy policy.)