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No More Sneaky Peeks: Airbnb Draws the Curtain on Indoor Cameras

Airbnb's ban on indoor security cameras, stricter policies, privacy concerns, detection methods for hidden cameras, and competitor responses.

In a move prioritizing guest privacy, Airbnb has announced a global ban on indoor security cameras at its rentals, effective 30th April. Previously, hosts were allowed to install cameras in shared spaces as long as they were disclosed, clearly visible, and avoided private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms.

Implementing Stricter Policies

Airbnb listings tend to be camera-free indoors, with security cameras only being allowed in specific areas of hotel listings (lobbies, hallways, restaurants) and always with clear disclosure. Despite these policies, there have been isolated reports of hidden cameras found in Airbnb rentals.

Airbnb Faces Privacy Concerns

Airbnb has faced recent legal troubles due to instances where hosts allegedly violated guests’ privacy by taking and sharing photos without their consent or installing hidden cameras on the property. In 2019, a New Zealand family discovered cameras in their Airbnb rental in Ireland after scanning the Wi-Fi network.

To detect hidden surveillance cameras in Airbnb accommodations, renters can utilize their smartphone camera to look for infrared light that some cameras use for night vision. Radio frequency detectors are also available to scan the room for any devices emitting radio signals. If a signal is detected, the detector will beep or light up to alert the user. These measures can be particularly useful for those who are concerned about privacy during their stay.

Airbnb Strengthens Surveillance Policies

Upgrading its security camera policy, Airbnb will now require hosts to clearly disclose any outdoor cameras, including doorbell models, and noise monitors on their listings. This transparency will come with limitations, as cameras won’t be allowed near privacy-focused areas like outdoor showers or saunas.

In addition to the changes related to surveillance cameras, last year Airbnb implemented a policy shift targeting users who are deemed likely to travel with individuals banned from the platform for safety reasons.

In response to Airbnb’s policy revision, competitor Vrbo released a statement emphasizing their existing ban on indoor cameras since 2022.

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