Business

Airbnb says it is banning the use of indoor security cameras in its rental properties around the globe from next month.

The company said in the past it has allowed the use of indoor security cameras in common areas like hallways and living rooms but is clamping down on their use in order to “continue to prioritise the privacy of our community”.

It said devices have never been permitted in sleeping areas or bathrooms and indoor cameras always had to be disclosed in the property details and clearly visible.

A statement from the online rental platform said: “The update to this policy simplifies our approach and makes clear that security cameras are not allowed inside listings, regardless of their location, purpose or prior disclosure.”

Under the new policy, property owners will still be allowed to use outdoor security cameras including in doorbells and noise monitors.

But these devices will not be allowed to cover certain outdoor areas like an enclosed outdoor shower or sauna.

Image:
In the past security cameras have been allowed to monitor communal areas. Pic: iStock

In 2019, Airbnb apologised to a family from New Zealand after they discovered they were being livestreamed by a hidden camera at their accommodation in Ireland.

The Barker family had been staying at a property in Cork, southwest Ireland, when they found a camera concealed in the casing of a smoke alarm in the living room.

At the time, the company said it offered a full refund to the family and permanently removed the host from its platform.

On Tuesday, Juniper Downs, Airbnbs head of community policy and partnerships, said the upcoming changes were made after consultation with guests, hosts and privacy experts.

“Our goal was to create new, clear rules that provide our community with greater clarity about what to expect on Airbnb,” he said.

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“We will continue to seek feedback to help ensure our policies work for our global community.”

The company said the update is only expected to impact a small number of listings as the majority of properties on the side do not report having security cameras.

The change will come into effect on 30 April. Breaches of the policy after this date could lead to properties being removed from the site, the company said.

Having began in San Francisco in 2008, Airbnb now has more than five million hosts on its site, according to the company website.

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