Complain to Airbnb about Your Privacy

I wanted to share that I emailed Aisling Hassell using her email ( to complain about Airbnb’s new policy of requiring guests to upload a photo of their government ID. I got a response from

Hi [Name], a wonderful day to you! This is a community education specialist and I would be glad to assist you today. I understand that this situation is difficult, but let’s try to find a solution. I’ll make sure to exhaust all resources I have to resolve your concern.

The identification info you provide to Airbnb is governed by our Privacy Policy and transmitted using secure encryption, the same process that websites use to transmit credit card numbers. When we receive information from your driver’s license, passport, or national identity card, we store the number in an encrypted form, so you should only have to confirm your identity once.

Only authorized Airbnb employees are allowed access to your original documentation for troubleshooting or internal purposes. Our third-party databases store information according to our written instructions. If allowed under the laws of the jurisdiction where you reside, you may request that Airbnb not process your personal information for certain specific purposes (including profiling) where such processing is based on legitimate interest.

If you object to such processing, Airbnb will no longer process your personal information for these purposes unless we can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for such processing, or such processing is required for the establishment, exercise, or defense of legal claims. You may exercise your rights to object just tell us.

Other Airbnb users who are concerned about their privacy could try emailing Aisling or just and then requesting to exercise their right to object to data collection. The Airbnb privacy policy also directs users to

Privacy Data Rights, or Lack Thereof, with Airbnb

This is not a guest or host or neighbor story, but those are the only categories. In July 2019, I opened an Airbnb account. Airbnb’s unprofessional and disorganized conduct led me to cancel my account within about 24 hours of opening it. Airbnb’s response was that it was permitted to continue to maintain and use my data, even if my account was closed.

I asked Airbnb to show me the contract language that allowed that. Airbnb failed and refused to do so. After a long message thread over several days, Airbnb referred me to their “Airbnb Community” department. He said he would follow the privacy protection laws, but only if I would send additional private data, to “verify” my identity. Airbnb claimed it did not copy my personal information, but has refused to tell me whether, and to whom, Airbnb has already shared or uploaded my personal information.

Furthermore, my research indicates that in order to verify anyone’s identity in compliance with the law, a company need only verify my email address. I’ve asked Airbnb to refer me to the authority on which it relies to demand even more personal data before erasing my personal data, and it has wholly failed to respond.

This is only a summary of the details. I have reported this to the FTC, the California BBB, the GDPR in the EU (I am a US and Canadian citizen with residency in Italy),, and to a writer for The Washington Post. If anyone has any suggestions on any other agencies who would be interested in this problem, please post them.