Airbnb launches online portal for law enforcement

UK: Airbnb has announced the launch of its online portal which aims to provide a secure, streamlined channel for law enforcement to submit valid legal requests for information from Airbnb.

Through the portal, officers engaged in enforcing the law will be able to securely track requests, and receive status updates and customised email notifications.

Law enforcement operations manager Elaine Punch said: “The safety and privacy of our community is our priority. Today’s announcement complements the work we do day in day out to keep our hosts, our guests and communities safe.

“We will continue to do what we can to assist law enforcement and their investigations,” she added.

In a statement, Airbnb said its mission is to ‘create a world where anyone can belong anywhere’. In order to achieve this, it said that the platform aims to build trust between people and protect their safety and privacy both online and offline, on every part of every trip.

“We also support the vital work of law enforcement to help keep our community safe. We have a dedicated team who respond to requests for information from law enforcement authorities around the world,” it added.

All requests for user information will continue to be handled and evaluated in line with Airbnb’s existing terms of service, privacy policy and law enforcement guidelines. To protect users’ privacy, Airbnb says it will only disclose user information when it receives a valid legal request or in emergency situations.

Since 2016, Airbnb has published a law enforcement transparency report to provide insights into the frequency of requests for user information, where they come from, and how it responds to them. Between 1 January to 31 December 2018, Airbnb received more than 3,071 inquiries from officers in 47 countries, of which 811 requests involved the release of at least some account information.

For more information, visit the Airbnb website here.