Airbnb bans indoor security cameras for all listings on the platform

Airbnb is banning indoor security cameras from its listings around the world, and hosts have until the end of next month to comply, the lodging rental platform said on Monday. 

The company previously allowed those looking to rent out their places use indoor security cameras in common areas so long as the devices were clearly disclosed on the listing page and the cameras were installed in easy-to-see places. Such cameras, which were were barred from bedrooms and bathrooms, are now prohibited inside any Airbnb listing regardless of their ostensible purpose or visibility.

"These changes were made in consultation with our guests, hosts and privacy experts," Juniper Downs, Airbnb's head of community policy and partnerships, said in a statement announcing the policy. 

Homeowners listing properties on Airbnb that use indoor security cameras have until April 30 to remove them, the San Francisco company said. Those that don't comply face potentially having their listing or account removed from the platform. 

Airbnb cracking down on fake listings

The update is not expected to impact most listings on Airbnb, according to the company, which started in 2017 and which now counts more than 5 million hosts as using its technology.

Outdoor security devices, such as doorbell cameras, are still allowed, but their location needs to be disclosed to would-be guests before they sign the dotted line, Airbnb said.

Advances in technology have heightened concerns about consumer privacy, with the Federal Trade Commission among the agencies sounding the alarm about the myriad ways that personal information is collected and sold to third-party vendors. 

Vexing for some travelers, use of security cameras at Airbnb listings was spoofed in a recent episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live, which suggested travelers were being watched from a toilet. 

In a more serious vein related to privacy and travel, a Royal Caribbean cruise worker was arrested earlier this month in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after allegedly hiding cameras inside bathrooms of passenger cabins to spy on guests.


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