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Airbnb announced Monday it is banning the use of indoor security cameras in all its listings as part of an overhaul to its security device rules prioritizing the privacy of guests.

Historically, Airbnb allowed indoor security cameras in common areas, such as hallways and living rooms, if they were disclosed on the listing page before booking, clearly visible and were not in spaces like sleeping areas and bathrooms.

Under the policy update that takes effect April 30, security cameras will no longer be allowed inside listings, regardless of their location, purpose or prior disclosure.

“Our goal was to create new, clear rules that provide our community with greater clarity about what to expect on Airbnb,” Juniper Downs, Airbnb’s head of community policy and partnerships, said in a posting on Airbnb’s website. “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.”

The policy update is expected to affect a minority of Airbnb listings because most of the listings on the platform do not report having a security camera, the company said.

Nils Mattisson, co-founder and CEO of Minut, which produces noise-monitoring devices, called Airbnb’s policy change a game changer that removes any doubt over whether or where cameras can be placed in rentals.

“The only way to truly guarantee privacy is not to record sensitive data in the first place,” Mattisson said. “Using cameras inside rentals was not only controversial, but it was overkill by owners in most cases. There are several better ways they can protect their properties as well as the guests without intruding on them.”

While Airbnb’s changes prioritized privacy for guests, many hosts — and their neighbors — have expressed concern with unruly guests who turn rentals into party houses, on occasion creating demand for more stringent short-term rental regulations.

Platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo use screening technologies to help protect hosts from guests with bad rental histories. Other forms of security like doorbell monitors that can track how many people enter a property or noise decibel monitors also can deter unruly guests.

Airbnb called such devices “an effective, privacy-protective way for hosts to monitor security for their home and get ahead of issues like unauthorized parties” and said they would continue to be permitted.

For outdoor cameras, hosts must disclose their presence and location before bookings. Such cameras may not monitor indoor spaces and are not permitted in outdoor areas where privacy would be expected, such as an enclosed outdoor shower or sauna.

Hosts are also required to disclose the presence of noise decibel monitors, which assess decibel level only and do not record or transmit sounds or conversations and are only allowed in common spaces of listings.

Reported violations of the policies will be investigated, and violators’ listings or accounts can be removed, Airbnb said.

Minut’s Mattisson said cameras were never a good option to keep rental homes safe.

“The danger with cameras was always that they provided a false sense of security,” he said. “Unless they’re monitored around the clock, they only deterred damage from a tiny minority of inconsiderate guests but did nothing to make travelers’ stays safer. The industry needs to embrace this change and move the conversation away from damage to property and make it much more about guest safety and security.”



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