Airbnb 2018 Supplemental Law Enforcement Transparency Report

We are proud to publish our 2018 Supplemental Transparency Report, covering the period from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018. The goal of this Transparency Report is to provide insight into the frequency of government requests for user information, where they come from, and how we respond to them.

Requests for user information from law enforcement

In accordance with its Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and Law Enforcement Guidelines, Airbnb receives and responds to valid requests for user information on a regular basis.  These requests come from various government agencies around the world. This report refers to government agencies collectively as law enforcement, and refers to subpoenas, warrants, or equivalent formal legal requests concerning specific users or incidents as legal process.

Airbnb received law enforcement requests from 47 countries during the period covered by this report.  While negative incidents related to the use of its platform are rare, Airbnb works with law enforcement to protect the rights of hosts, guests, and our community at large.

In most instances, Airbnb requires the production of a valid legal request in order to disclose user information. In certain emergency situations,  Airbnb will disclose user information without legal process, such as when we have reason to believe that the disclosure of information is required to prevent the imminent harm to or protect the vital interests of an Airbnb user or a member of the public.  

Airbnb’s Law Enforcement Guidelines describe our process for receiving and evaluating requests from law enforcement. Where Airbnb identifies a legal deficiency in a formal request for user information, including legal deficiencies with any related non-disclosure order, Airbnb’s practice is to inform the requesting law enforcement agent about the deficiency and indicate what the appropriate process would be.  In all instances documented in this report in which Airbnb did not provide user information in response to a request from law enforcement, the requesting law enforcement officer elected not to pursue the request after being informed of the applicable legal deficiency.

Non-disclosure orders

Airbnb’s policy is to provide notice to users when we receive legal process from a third party seeking their information, such as law enforcement, unless we believe that doing so would be futile, ineffective, or create a risk of harm, or where we are legally prohibited from providing notice to the affected user, such as under a non-disclosure order.  

Where Airbnb identifies a legal deficiency in a non-disclosure order, Airbnb’s practice is to inform the requesting law enforcement agent about the deficiency and indicate what the appropriate process would be.  In the case of valid non-disclosure orders, Airbnb’s policy is to comply with the non-disclosure order unless the order is withdrawn by the requesting law enforcement official (or formally challenged by Airbnb).

For the period between January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018, Airbnb received non-disclosure orders in connection with 1,524 requests for Airbnb user information, 909 of which were valid non-disclosure orders and hence resulted in user information disclosures without user notification.  For the other 615 requests, Airbnb informed the requesting law enforcement agent about the deficiency in the non-disclosure order, and the agent did not follow up or remedy the deficiency (so user information was not disclosed).

More information can be found in our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and Law Enforcement Guidelines.

Law enforcement requests over time

Airbnb receives general inquiries from law enforcement as well as requests that include some form of legal process for user information.  As stated above, Airbnb does not reply to requests without legal process, and will only disclose user information when the request includes legal process that is compliant with Airbnb’s policies.  When law enforcement inquiries or requests for user information are not compliant with Airbnb’s Policies, we inform the requesting officer of the deficiency, and the officer does not always elect to obtain compliant legal process.

Global law enforcement statistics

Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2018

3,071 Total law enforcement inquiries for user information

1,739 Total requests where some form of legal process was served

811 Requests for which at least some account information was disclosed

3,911 User accounts affected

Legal process from law enforcement sometimes requests information from the accounts of more than one user.  Accounts “affected” means the total number of accounts for which at least some information was disclosed in response to law enforcement requests.

53.4% of the legal process received during this period was either facially invalid or did not comply with our processes and Law Enforcement Guidelines and therefore we did not disclose user information.

All other legal process submitted by law enforcement resulted in user information being disclosed because it complied with our processes and Law Enforcement Guidelines

Disclosure rate by region where law enforcement submitted some form of legal process

United States

69.8%

EMEA

42.5%

APAC

55.7%

NA & LatAm (incl. U.S.)

67.4%

 

Thus, the disclosure rate is substantially affected by whether law enforcement follows-up on an initial response that its request and/or non-disclosure order is not in compliance with Airbnb’s Law Enforcement Disclosure policy.

Law enforcement requests by country

Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2018

Country Requests Received Requests for Which at Least Some Account Information was Disclosed Disclosure Rate Number of Users Affected by Disclosure
Argentina 3 2 66.7% 2
Australia 62 25 40.3% 66
Austria 3 1 33.3% 1
Belgium 3 1 33.3% 4
Canada 22 6 27.3% 6
Chile 1 0 0.0% 0
China 6 2 28.6% 303
Czech Republic 3 0 0.0% 0
Denmark 2 0 0.0% 0
Estonia 1 1 100.0% 1
Finland 2 0 0.0% 0
France 366 160 43.7% 102
Germany 326 179 54.9% 167
Greece 2 0 0.0% 0
Hong Kong 4 1 25.0% 1
Hungary 11 2 18.2% 3
India 1 1 100.0% 1
Ireland 18 7 38.9% 4
Israel 1 1 100.0% 1
Italy 119 16 13.4% 14
Japan 25 19 76.0% 49
Korea 9 4 44.4% 4
Lithuania 1 0 0.0% 0
Luxembourg 2 0 0.0% 0
Malta 2 0 0.0% 0
Mexico 2 0 0.0% 0
Netherlands 1 0 0.0% 0
New Zealand 4 4 100.0% 14
Norway 3 0 0.0% 0
Palau 1 0 0.0% 0
Poland 1 0 0.0% 0
Portugal 15 2 13.3% 2
Singapore 6 5 83.3% 5
Slovenia 2 0 0.0% 0
Spain 213 75 35.2% 64
Sweden 4 1 25.0% 1
Switzerland 15 6 40.0% 6
Taiwan 4 0 0.0% 0
United Kingdom 113 41 36.3% 31
United States 364 251 69.0% 3,362
Grand Total 1739 811 46.6% 3911

 

Emergency user information requests by country

Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2018

Country Requests for Which at Least Some Account Information was Disclosed Number of Users Affected by Disclosure
Australia 2 2
Canada 3 3
China 1 1
France 1 1
Ireland 2 2
Japan 1 1
Korea 2 2
Singapore 2 2
United Kingdom 4 4
United States 12 12
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