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Airbnb to Ban All Indoor Security Cameras, Restrict Audio Monitors

by Tim Wenger Mar 12, 2024

Airbnb announced this week that it will ban the use of indoor security cameras, effective April 30. Currently, security cameras are allowed in common areas in specified circumstances and must be disclosed to guests. They also have to be visible. The company has said that most of its hosts do not use security cameras, but as of the target date, the small percentage who do must remove them.

For those thinking, “Wait, my hosts have been filming me the whole time?” – you are not alone. Rather, this concern is at the heart of several issues pertaining to the use of security cameras in short-term rentals. Over multiple rounds of collecting feedback from guests, industry professionals, advocacy groups, and so-called privacy experts, the use of security cameras in Airbnb properties was repeatedly noted as both a concern and a potential violation of rights.

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

Noise monitors will still be allowed in Airbnb properties under certain circumstances. However, they must be disclosed and decibel monitors will not be allowed to record conversations or collect data beyond measuring noise decibel levels. They, too, must only be placed in common areas.

Airbnb hosts have long been accused of spying on guests, an issue that the company has said is not pervasive and which it has always taken credible reports seriously. Outdoor security cameras and doorbell cameras will continue to be allowed to help hosts address the issue of guests throwing unauthorized parties. These cameras must continue to be disclosed to guests, along with noise monitors.

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