Airbnb bans indoor security cameras

Airbnb announced Monday that it will begin banning the use of indoor security cameras on all of its listings globally at the end of next month.

The company said the goal of the policy change is to “simplify our policy on security cameras” while continuing to “prioritize the privacy of our community.”

The revised policy also comes as a result of “extensive consultation” with guests, hosts, privacy experts and advocacy groups, the company said.

“Our goal was to create new, clear rules that provide our community with more clarity about what to expect on Airbnb,” Juniper Downs, head of community policy and partnerships at Airbnb, said in the announcement.

In the past, security cameras were permitted in certain areas inside, as long as they were disclosed on the listing page before booking and were clearly visible. Cameras were not allowed in sleeping areas and bathrooms, but were allowed in hallways and living rooms. Now, Airbnb is banning all cameras, “regardless of their location.”

Airbnb has also revised its policy on outdoor security cameras. Doorbell cameras and other external security devices are permitted, but must be disclosed before guests reserve listings. Outdoor cameras will also not be allowed to monitor areas where “there is a greater expectation of privacy, such as an outdoor bathroom or sauna.”

Noise monitoring in decibels is permitted in common spaces. The devices monitor sound levels — which can be a useful tool to deter problems like unauthorized parties — and do not record sounds or conversations, the announcement said.

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In the announcement, the company said it does not expect the updated rules to have a significant impact, noting that most listings do not report the presence of security cameras. However, the company announced that the policy will only go into effect on April 30, to allow hosts time to make the necessary changes.

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