2018 Airbnb Law Enforcement Transparency Report

We are proud to publish our third Transparency Report, covering the period from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 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 36 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 identifiable non-public 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 July 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017, Airbnb received non-disclosure orders in connection with 238 requests for Airbnb user information, 129 of which were valid non-disclosure orders and hence resulted in user information disclosures without user notification.  For the other 109 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).

Likewise, for the period between January 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018, Airbnb received non-disclosure orders in connection with 326 requests for Airbnb user information, 163 of which resulted in user information disclosures without user notification.  For the other 163 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).

In the case of certain types of national security-related requests in the United States, such as with national security letters, Airbnb may be prohibited from not only providing user notice of the request but also from publicly acknowledging receiving it, such as in a transparency report like this one. Up to and including the period covered by this report, however, we have not received a national security letter or other similar request that would limit our ability to disclose it here.

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

 

Global Law Enforcement Statistics January 1 - June 30, 2018

1,368Total law enforcement inquiries for user information

914Total requests where some form of legal process was served

305Requests for which at least some account information was disclosed

1,280User accounts affected

66.5% 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:

Global law enforcement statistics January 1 - June 30, 2018

United States 60%
EMEA 26.7%
APAC 46.7%
NA & LatAm (incl. U.S.) 54.2%

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.

 

Global Law Enforcement Statistics July 1 - December 31, 2017

947Total law enforcement inquiries for user information

647Total requests where some form of legal process was served

235Requests for which at least some account information was disclosed

297User accounts affected

63.7of 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:

Global law enforcement statistics July 1 - December 31, 2017

United States 60%
EMEA 33%
APAC 72.2%
NA & LatAm (incl. U.S.) 54.9%

 

 

Law Enforcement Requests

Law Enforcement Requests for January 1 - June 30, 2018, by Country

Country Requests Received Requests for Which at Least Some Account Information was Disclosed Disclosure Rate Number of Users Affected by Disclosure
Australia 27 9 33% 12
Austria 3 0 0% 0
Belgium 2 0 0% 0
Canada 22 5 23% 5
China 2 1 50% 303
Czech Republic 1 0 0% 0
Estonia 1 1 100% 1
France 180 62 34% 65
Germany 135 40 30% 38
Greece 2 0 0% 0
Hong Kong 1 0 0% 0
Hungary 5 1 20% 1
Ireland 12 6 50% 6
Italy 79 8 9% 8
Japan 13 11 85% 32
Korea 7 3 43% 3
Luxembourg 2 0 0% 0
New Zealand 5 3 60% 13
Norway 3 0 0% 0
Palau 2 0 0% 0
Poland 1 0 0% 0
Portugal 16 0 0% 0
Singapore 3 2 67% 2
Spain 160 39 24% 39
Sweden 2 1 50% 1
Switzerland 3 1 33% 1
Taiwan 2 0 0% 0
United Kingdom 73 22 27% 22
United States 151 90 60% 727
Grand Total 914 305 33% 1,280

Law Enforcement Requests for July 1 - December 31, 2017, by Country

Country Requests Received Requests for Which at Least Some Account Information was Disclosed Disclosure Rate Number of Users Affected by Disclosure
Australia 6 4 67% 6
Austria 1 0 0% 0
Belgium 6 4 67% 4
Canada 10 1 10% 1
China 2 1 50% 10
Czech Republic 1 0 0% 0
Denmark 1 0 0% 0
Finland 1 0 0% 0
France 116 69 59% 85
Germany 106 47 44% 52
Hungary 1 0 0% 0
Italy 101 10 10% 10
Japan 1 1 100% 2
Korea 5 4 80% 4
Lithuania 2 0 0% 0
Macedonia 1 0 0% 0
Malta 1 0 0% 0
Netherlands 1 0 0% 0
New Zealand 5 3 60% 4
Norway 3 0 0% 0
Poland 1 0 0% 0
Portugal 3 0 0% 0
Singapore 1 1 100% 2
Spain 119 23 19% 30
Sweden 1 1 100% 7
Switzerland 2 0 0% 0
United Kingdom 65 22 34% 26
United States 82 44 54% 54
Grand Total 647 235 36.3% 297

 

 

Emergency User Information Requests

Emergency User Information Requests January 1 - June 30, 2018, By Country

Country Requests for Which at Least Some Account Information was Disclosed Number of Users Affected by Disclosure
Australia 1 1
Canada 3 3
Ireland 2 2
Japan 1 1
Korea 2 2
Singapore 1 1
United Kingdom 1 1
United States 5 5

Emergency User Information Requests July 1 - December 31, 2017, By Country

Country Requests for Which at Least Some Account Information was Disclosed Number of Users Affected by Disclosure
Canada 1 1
United States 2 2
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