Airbnb bans surveillance cameras inside properties

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Airbnb logo on phone.Image source, Getty Images

Airbnb says it is introducing a worldwide ban on the use of security cameras inside rental properties.

The changes to the company’s policy will come into effect at the end of next month.

The online rental platform says the move aims to simplify its rules on security cameras and prioritise the privacy of guests.

Airbnb users have previously voiced concerns about the use of indoor surveillance cameras.

“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,” Airbnb’s Head of Community Policy and Partnerships, Juniper Downs said in a statement.

“As the majority of listings on Airbnb do not report having a security camera, this update is expected to impact a smaller subset of listings on the platform,” she added.

Airbnb’s current rules allow the use of security cameras in common areas such as living rooms and hallways, as long as the location of the equipment is made clear on the property’s listing.

The updated policy also bans the use of outdoor cameras that point inside properties. Airbnb does not allow surveillance cameras to be placed in private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms.

The new rules will still allow the use of doorbell cameras and noise monitors in common areas. These devices also have to be disclosed on the property’s listing page.

Airbnb said it seeks to balance the need for hosts to be able to monitor the security of their property and be aware of issues such as unauthorised parties while prioritising the privacy of guests.

The announcement comes just over a week after US comedy show Saturday Night Live aired a spoof Airbnb advert which included a joke about a camera being hidden in a toilet. The sketch has been watched more than 1.2 million times on YouTube.