Airbnb bans indoor security cameras, tightens restrictions on outdoor surveillance

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In a move to bolster privacy protections for its users, Airbnb has announced significant changes to its policies regarding security cameras in listed properties. Starting April 30, the accommodation platform will ban the use of indoor security cameras altogether and introduce stricter regulations for outdoor cameras and noise monitoring devices.

Previously, Airbnb allowed cameras in common areas like hallways and living rooms, as long as they were disclosed by the property owner and not placed in private spaces like bedrooms or bathrooms. However, under the new policy, property managers will need to disclose the presence and general location of any outdoor cameras, ensuring they do not monitor indoor areas or spaces with a high expectation of privacy, such as showers or saunas.

The company also addressed the use of noise monitors, which some hosts had employed to preempt unauthorized parties. While these devices will still be permitted, hosts must disclose their presence to guests, and the monitors must only assess decibel levels without recording or transmitting sounds.

Airbnb emphasized that the majority of properties listed on its platform do not have security cameras. The changes were made following consultations with guests, hosts, privacy experts, and advocacy groups.

Violations of the new policy will be investigated, and penalties may include the removal of the listing or the user’s account. These changes come amidst rising concerns about the potential use of hidden cameras in public spaces, as technology becomes more affordable and widely accessible.

By implementing these stricter policies, Airbnb aims to simplify its monitoring device guidelines and uphold the privacy of its users.

(Source: Fox Business | Washington Post | CNBC)

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