Unseen Intrusion: Are secret cameras in Airbnbs invading your privacy?

Airbnb says it is introducing a ban on the use of security cameras inside its properties. How do tourists and landlords view the new policy?

Airbnb’s new no-camera policy is facing mixed reviews

Airbnb’s current rules allow the use of security cameras in common areas such as living rooms and hallways, if the location of the equipment is made clear on the property’s listing.

In the updated policy, Airbnb will have a worldwide ban on the use of security cameras inside rental properties. The changes to the company’s policy will come into effect at the end of next month.

“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’s Head of Community Policy and Partnerships, Juniper Downs said in a statement.

“This is very good news for me as I was very worried about cameras in my accommodation when I was travelling”, says Xiaoye Sun, a frequent Airbnb user.

Xiaoye is an international student from China who has travelled to many places during her three years of schooling in the UK. “The first thing I do whenever I go to a hotel or B&B is to check if there are any cameras in the room, and for this reason I have downloaded an application to check for camera devices.” says Xiaoye.

Airbnb host have faced criticism over privacy concerns in the past.

Xiaoye says she’s so cautious because she’s heard about a case in China about hidden cameras in Airbnb rooms years ago. “And it happened in my city,” says Xiaoye, “And I remember it was a couple who discovered a pinhole camera hidden in the router when they checked into an Airbnb rental property .”

It’s still rare for landlords to install cameras for the sake of stealing tenants’ privacy, but Xiaoye says she can’t accept cameras in hotel even if they’re installed in the public area to protect the property, as she doesn’t want to “feel being watched” at the place of residence. “It makes me feel uncomfortable and offended.” says Xiaoye.

Still, some Airbnb host have voiced their opposition on the new policy.

“It’s a stupid idea and Airbnb should rethink it” an Airbnb host shared his opinion on the Airbnb host community, “I have to keep an eye on the door hallway to make sure it is locked.”

There are also some homeowners who have expressed concern about their property and pets, arguing that they need a camera to protect their homes.

“The problem is that people most people don’t want to stay in a room with cameras, even if it is just in public areas,” says another Airbnb host. “A video doorbell is probably one of the best options,” he said.