Airbnb bans use of indoor security cameras amid privacy concerns

Short-term rental platform says decision comes as part of efforts to ‘prioritise the privacy of our community’.

Airbnb has revised its policies on security cameras [File: Mario Tama/Getty Images via AFP]

Airbnb has banned the use of indoor security cameras at its properties worldwide amid privacy concerns.

The short-term rental platform said on Monday it had made the decision as part of its efforts to simplify its policy on security cameras and “prioritise the privacy of our community”.

Airbnb, which has its headquarters in San Francisco, had until now allowed security cameras in common areas such as living rooms provided they were disclosed on listings and clearly visible.

“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,” Juniper Downs, Airbnb’s head of community policy and partnerships, said in a statement.

The move comes after years of occasional reports of Airbnb users discovering hidden cameras in their lodgings.

Airbnb said it expected the change to affect only a “smaller subset of listings” as a majority of properties did not report having a security camera.

Airbnb said hosts will still be allowed to install doorbell cameras and noise decibel monitors to address issues such as unauthorised parties.

But hosts will be required to disclose the presence and general location of outdoor cameras before accepting bookings, according to the company.

Outdoor cameras also must not be used to monitor indoor spaces or installed in outdoor spaces where there is a greater expectation of privacy, such as shower areas.

The rental platform said the revised policy will take effect from April 30 to give hosts time to comply with the new rules.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies