Home & Office

Airbnb bans the use of all indoor security cameras starting April 30

The prohibition applies to all of Airbnb's listings worldwide. Outdoor cameras and noise decibel monitors are still OK, with certain restrictions.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Close-up view of the Pan/Tilt Camera 2K on a table.
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNET

Airbnb has updated its policy on security cameras to include a ban on all indoor cameras across all its listings, even in common areas. This change will go into effect on April 30 to give hosts time to comply with the new rule.

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Airbnb's updated policy also delivers more comprehensive instruction on using outdoor cameras and other monitoring devices, such as video doorbells and noise decibel monitors. 

"Our goal was to create new, clear rules that provide our community with greater clarity about what to expect on Airbnb," said Juniper Downs, Airbnb's head of community policy and partnerships. "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."

Before this change, Airbnb allowed indoor cameras in common areas of listings as long as their presence was disclosed on the listing and visible to guests. Using security cameras in areas considered private, like bathrooms and bedrooms, was prohibited. 

Hosts can continue to have noise decibel monitors only in the common spaces of their properties but will have to disclose their presence. These monitors can be used to monitor security and unauthorized parties -- which Airbnb prohibits -- but the monitors must not record or transmit sounds or conversations. 

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Aside from banning all indoor cameras, the new policy also provides more details on the use of outdoor security cameras. Airbnb hosts must disclose the location of their outdoor cameras -- including video doorbells -- before guests book the listing. According to the new policy, these outdoor cameras may not be pointed toward indoor or outdoor areas that carry a certain expectation of privacy, like outdoor showers. 

Anyone violating this new policy can be reported after April 30, and Airbnb may remove the listing or the host's account entirely, depending on the results of an investigation. 

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