Airbnb bans use of all indoor security cameras to ‘prioritize the privacy’ of guests

Technology

In this photo illustration an Airbnb logo is displayed on a smartphone on January 26, 2024 in Unspecified, United Kingdom.
John Keeble | Getty Images

Airbnb announced it will ban the use of indoor security cameras in any property listed on its site, and bring in new restrictions on outdoor cameras and noise monitoring devices.

Cameras were previously allowed in areas such as hallways and living areas as long as they were disclosed by the property owner. Airbnb also required the cameras to be clearly visible and not located in sleeping areas or bathrooms.

It said Monday that the changes, which will come into force from April 30, simplify its policy around monitoring devices and “continue to prioritize the privacy” of Airbnb users.

It will also now require that property managers disclose the presence and general location of any outdoor camera, that those cameras do not monitor indoor spaces, and that they are not located anywhere with a “greater expectation of privacy,” such as showers and saunas.

Airbnb acknowledged that noise monitors were used by some property owners as a way to “get ahead of issues like unauthorized parties,” but said these must be disclosed to guests. They must only assess decibel levels and not record or transmit sounds.

Violations of the new policy will be investigated and penalties may include the removal of the listing or user’s account, Airbnb said.

“These changes follow extensive consultation with guests, hosts, privacy experts and advocacy groups,” Airbnb said in the statement.

While the company says the majority of properties listed on its site do not report having a security camera, the changes come amid growing concern over the potential use of hidden cameras in public spaces, which have become cheaper and widely available in recent years.

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