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Airbnb bans indoor security cameras globally

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In a significant policy overhaul, Airbnb has taken a decisive step to enhance user privacy by globally prohibiting the use of indoor security cameras in its listings from April 30. This initiative aims to simplify the platform’s stance on security devices and prioritise the privacy of the Airbnb community.

Previously, Airbnb permitted hosts to use indoor security cameras in common areas, such as hallways and living rooms, as long as they were disclosed on the listing page, clearly visible, and kept away from private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms.

However, the updated policy marks a distinct shift, categorically disallowing indoor security cameras irrespective of location, purpose, or prior disclosure.

The company anticipates that this updated policy will impact a relatively small subset of listings, as most Airbnb hosts currently do not report the presence of indoor security cameras.

In tandem with the ban on indoor cameras, Airbnb’s revised policy introduces more comprehensive regulations governing outdoor security cameras and other monitoring devices, including noise decibel monitors.

While doorbell cameras and noise decibel monitors remain permissible tools for hosts to monitor home security and preemptively address unauthorised parties, hosts are now mandated to disclose the presence and general location of any outdoor cameras before guests make reservations.

The updated policy will take effect on April 30.

These outdoor cameras are explicitly prohibited from surveilling indoor spaces and are restricted from some outdoor regions with a heightened expectation of privacy, such as enclosed outdoor showers or saunas.

Hosts are also obliged to disclose the presence of noise decibel monitors, which exclusively measure decibel levels without recording or transmitting sounds or conversations and are restricted to common areas within listings.

The revised policy is scheduled to take effect on April 30 to facilitate a smooth transition for hosts. After this date, any reported policy violations will undergo thorough investigation, with potential consequences including removing listings or accounts.

“Our goal was to create new, clear rules that give our community 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,” said Juniper Downs, Head of Community Policy and Partnerships at Airbnb.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: