Airbnb bans security cameras inside listings

Airbnb has updated its policy to completely ban hosts from using indoor security cameras in their rentals after facing privacy concerns.

The revised policy will apply globally and will take effect on April 30th, later this year. Airbnb said it had made the change as part of its efforts to prioritize the privacy of guests and to simplify the rules on security cameras.

“Our goal was to create new, clear rules that provide our community with greater clarity about what to expect on Airbnb,” said Juniper Downs, the company’s head of community policy.

“These changes were made in consultation with our guests, hosts, and privacy experts, and we’ll continue to seek feedback to help ensure our policies work for our global community,” Downs said.

The old policy allows the use of indoor security cameras in common areas of listings, such as hallways and living rooms, as long as it is disclosed on the listing page before booking and the cameras are clearly visible. The use of cameras in private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms is not allowed.

The revised rules make it clear that security cameras are not allowed inside listings regardless of their location, purpose, or prior disclosure. Hosts who violate the rules will be investigated, and the use of cameras could result in their listing or account removal.

Airbnb said that the majority of listings do not report having security cameras. Therefore, this update is expected to affect only a small number of listings on the platform.

Airbnb will allow hosts to use outdoor cameras, but they will be prohibited from monitoring indoor spaces of the listing with them. Their presence and general location will have to be disclosed before booking.

Devices like doorbell cameras and noise decibel monitors will continue to be permitted on Airbnb as a way for hosts to monitor security and prevent unauthorized parties, the company said. Hosts will have to disclose the presence of noise decibel monitors.

The use of indoor cameras has long been the cause of frustration for Airbnb users. Last year, a couple from Texas filed a $75,000 lawsuit against an Airbnb owner of a property in Maryland after allegedly finding hidden cameras recording them during their stay, including in the bathroom.

The new rules were announced about a week after a viral sketch from NBC’s Saturday Night Life, which joked about a “camera in the toilet” in its parody of an Airbnb commercial.

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