In this photo illustration, an Airbnb logo is displayed on a smartphone on January 26, 2024 in Unspecified, United Kingdom.

John Keeble | Getty Images

Airbnb has announced that it will ban the use of internal security cameras at every property listed on its site and introduce new restrictions on external cameras and noise monitoring devices.

Previously, cameras were allowed in areas such as hallways and living quarters as long as they were disclosed by the property owner. Airbnb also requires cameras to be clearly visible and not located in sleeping areas or bathrooms.

It said Monday that the changes, which will take effect on April 30, simplify its policy on surveillance devices and “continue to prioritize the privacy” of Airbnb users.

Property managers will also now be required to disclose the presence and general location of any exterior camera, that those cameras do not monitor interior spaces, and that they are not located anywhere with a “greater expectation of privacy,” such as showers and saunas.

Airbnb acknowledged that noise monitors were used by some property owners as a way to “prevent problems such as unauthorized parties”, but said they should be disclosed to guests. They should only measure decibel levels, not record or transmit sounds.

Violations of the new policy will be investigated and penalties may include removal of a listing or user account, Airbnb said.

“These changes follow extensive consultation with guests, hosts, privacy experts and advocacy groups,” Airbnb said in the statement.

While the company says the majority of properties listed on its site do not report having a security camera, the changes come amid growing concern about the potential use of hidden cameras in public spaces that have become cheaper and widely available in the past years.

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