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Airbnb Bans Use of Indoor Security Cameras in Rentals Worldwide

Airbnb has announced a global prohibition on the utilization of security cameras inside rental properties.

Airbnb camera ban
(Photo: Poetra.RH/Shutterstock)

Airbnb, the globally recognized rental platform headquartered in San Francisco, recently made a significant announcement that could reshape the privacy landscape within its accommodations worldwide.

Airbnb announced its decision to prohibit indoor security cameras in rentals worldwide by the end of the following month, with the new policy taking effect on April 30th.

Previously, Airbnb has permitted indoor security cameras in common areas such as hallways and living rooms, provided that their locations were disclosed on the listing page.

cctv inside an accommodation
The CCTV security camera operating inside the home. Photo credit: Comedstock

However, under the updated policy, hosts will only be allowed to use doorbell cameras and noise-decibel monitors in common spaces, with the condition that their presence is disclosed.

Additionally, hosts are prohibited from using outdoor cameras to monitor indoor spaces and are not permitted in specific outdoor locations where privacy expectations are higher, such as enclosed outdoor showers or saunas.

Devices such as doorbell cameras and noise decibel monitors remain permissible on Airbnb and can serve as effective and privacy-conscious means for hosts to enhance home security and proactively address issues such as unauthorized gatherings.

However, hosts must now disclose the existence and approximate location of any outdoor cameras prior to guests making bookings.

A lady downloading Airbnb app
Hosts are required to disclose camera presence to guests. Photo Credit: Daniel Karson

Additionally, hosts are obligated to disclose the presence of noise decibel monitors, which solely measure decibel levels without recording or transmitting audio or conversations.

These monitors are only allowed in shared listing areas, ensuring that guest privacy is respected while maintaining security measures.

Since 2022, Vrbo, the short-term rental platform, has implemented a policy prohibiting the use of indoor cameras unless they are disclosed to guests and can be deactivated by them.

The San Francisco-based rental platform stated its aim to streamline its security camera regulations while placing a higher emphasis on privacy.

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

While acknowledging instances where guests have found hidden cameras in rentals, Downs stated that she expects the impact of the policy update to be minimal, as the majority of Airbnb listings do not report having indoor security cameras.

Following the implementation of the new policy next month, Airbnb stated that it would enforce consequences against those who violate it, which may include the removal of an account or listing.

Despite these changes, Airbnb reported positive growth in bookings and revenue in its fourth-quarter earnings report, with sustained strong demand noted by the company.

Also, this demonstrates the platform’s resilience and adaptability in navigating challenges while maintaining its position as a market leader in the hospitality sector.

An official update from Airbnb newsroom can be found here.

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Bachelors in English Literature. Published a poetry book(author). Also in pursuit of multimedia journalism.

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