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Airbnb Bans All Indoor Security Cameras

by Elijah
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Airbnb Bans All Indoor Security Cameras

Airbnb will do that soon Ban hosts from monitoring their guests with indoor security cameras as the company changes course on its surveillance policies.

Starting April 30, hosts around the world must remove indoor cameras and disclose other outdoor surveillance technologies to guests before booking. Airbnb previously allowed hosts to install security cameras in a home’s common areas, such as hallways and living rooms. But it also required hosts to make them public, make them clearly visible, and keep the cameras out of places like sleeping areas and bathrooms.

Still, the cameras were a problem. Guests have reported encountering hidden cameras during their short-term rentals. For hosts, the cameras can be a way to deter guests from throwing large parties or to stop the gatherings before they become too disruptive. It’s a big enough concern multiple businesses have started making party surveillance technologythat bill themselves as solutions to protect short-term rentals.

But guests see them as an invasion of privacy: a watchful eye intruding on their vacation.

“We are very grateful that Airbnb listened to those of us who pushed back and called on them to truly put security and privacy first,” said Albert Fox Cahn, founder and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a pro -privacy organization.

In the announcement, Airbnb said the majority of its listings do not mention a security camera, so the rule change may not affect most listings. Vrbo, another short-term rental platform, already forbidden the use of visual and audio surveillance in properties.

Airbnb says it will investigate reported violations of the rule and may punish violators by removing their listings or accounts. But this policy may struggle to address the camera problem overall, because the company has already required hosts to disclose the indoor cameras, and guests have sometimes reported hidden and secret cameras.

The new rules also require hosts to disclose to guests whether they are using sound decibel monitors or outdoor cameras before guests book. Both are used by some hosts to monitor properties for parties, which continue to cause noise, damage and danger even after Airbnb imposed a party ban and hired new people. anti-party technology to prevent revelers from booking on its site. Airbnb will also ban hosts from using outdoor cameras to monitor indoor spaces, and deny them access to “certain outdoor areas where greater privacy is expected,” such as outdoor showers and saunas, it says.

“This just emphasizes the fact that surveillance always gives an enormous amount of power to whoever controls the camera system,” says Fox Cahn. “If it’s used in a property you rent, whether it’s a landlord or an Airbnb, it’s ripe for abuse.”

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