Airbnb to crack down on indoor security cameras in rentals

How to spot hidden cameras in an Airbnb

Source: TikTok/@malwaretech

A policy change from Airbnb will mean indoor security cameras are soon banned from its listings around the world.

The announcement was made last Monday (US time) and the updated policy affects holiday accommodation listings globally.

Until now, Airbnb has allowed hosts to have clearly visible cameras inside rentals, but only in common areas like living rooms and hallways.

Cameras were not permitted in areas such as bathrooms and bedrooms.

The host was also required to state in the listing that cameras were installed.

In a blog post explaining the change, Airbnb said it was to simplify the company’s approach and make it clear cameras are banned inside “regardless of their location, purpose or prior disclosure”.

“Our goal was to create new, clear rules that provide our community with greater clarity about what to expect on Airbnb,” the listing agency’s head of community policy and partnerships, Juniper Downs, said.

“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.”

Airbnb said the majority of its listings did not report having security cameras, so only a small group would be affected by the change.

pictured is a doorbell camera

Airbnb will allow doorbell cameras, so long as hosts disclose where they are.

Airbnb still allows some cameras

The platform is also make some changes to its policies for outdoor cameras and other devices such as noise decibel monitors.

Doorbell cameras and noise decibel monitors are allowed, as they are “effective, privacy-protective way for hosts to monitor security for their home”.

However, Airbnb hosts will need to disclose that such devices are being used, and where they are, before a guest books their stay.

Doorbell cameras are prohibited from monitoring indoor spaces and in certain outdoor areas, such as enclosed outdoor showers or saunas.

Decibel monitors can assess only decibel levels and must not be capable of recording or transmitting sounds or conversations. They are also allowed only in common areas of the rental.

The revised policy takes effect from April 30. After that, any reported violations will be investigated.

How to spot hidden cameras

There have been instances where people have allegedly found hidden cameras in their Airbnb in the past.

The idea of cameras being hidden isn’t exclusive to Airbnb, but also hotels or any sort of rental.

Just to be safe, it’s reassuring to know there are a few ways to spot a hidden camera.

Hidden cameras are usually very small and a popular place to hide them is in other electronics – think alarms or clocks.

If there are any items that look or feel out of place in a room, make sure you inspect them.

Have a torch handy, or use the torch on your phone, and turn off all the other lights.

Shine the torch around the room and any camera lens should shine back at you.

You can also check the wi-fi to see if there are any suspicious devices on the network.

Julian Claxton, a security professional, told TND back in 2019 that unsuspecting travellers who found a hidden camera should contact authorities.

“My recommendation is to contact the authorities. That is the first thing they should do. Don’t touch it [as] that could contaminate the evidence,” he said.

“But you’ve got to remember the majority of people are good people. It’s really important to state we must not be paranoid.

“It’s a select few who are dishonest or corrupt. There’s no reason to run into panic mode.”

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