Airbnb bans indoor security cameras in push to improve privacy

Indoor security cameras are now banned from Airbnb listings. Any hosts still making use of them after April 30 could be banned from the platform. Credit: Airbnb

Holiday rental company Airbnb has banned the use of indoor security cameras in properties listed on its site as it tries to improve privacy for users.

The announcement comes after a rise in social media videos showing people how to check rental accommodation for hidden cameras.

Before the new rules were implemented, Airbnb allowed the use of indoor security cameras in common areas, such as hallways and living rooms, as long as they were disclosed on the listing page before booking.

The cameras also had to be in plain sight and were not allowed to be located in spaces such as sleeping areas and bathrooms.

The update clarifies that any indoor security camera are now banned in a listing, regardless of location, purpose or prior disclosure.

Juniper Downs, head of community policy and partnerships at Airbnb, said: "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.

She added that the new policy had been drafted alongside guests, hosts and privacy experts.

Hosts previously had to disclose the location of indoor cameras, now they are banned entirely. Credit: Airbnb

The firm emphasised that the majority of Airbnb listings do not report having a security camera - so the announcement should only affect a small number of hosts.

Hosts who currently make use of an indoor security camera can continue to do so until April 30.

After this date, any host who still has a camera within their property could face their listing and account struck off the platform.

Outdoor cameras, such as doorbell cameras, will continue to be allowed by Airbnb. But, hosts will have to disclose their location to guests before they book.

The use of indoor cameras has long been a point of contention for those making use of the platform, arguing that they are an invasion of privacy.

The platform's shift in attitude towards there presence and use comes just a week after NBC's Saturday Night Live performed a live skit joking about cameras in Airbnb toilets.

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