Airbnb 2021 Law Enforcement Response Transparency Report


The principles of user data privacy and transparency are priorities for Airbnb. For the past 6 years, Airbnb has published an annual Transparency Report to offer insight into the types and volume of requests we receive from law enforcement and government authorities globally. Our 2021 Law Enforcement Response Transparency Report provides information regarding these requests and how they were handled during the period of January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021.

Types of Requests We Receive

While criminal incidents related to the use of our platform remain rare, Airbnb actively works with law enforcement to protect the safety of its Hosts, guests and our community at large, while balancing the need to protect their privacy. In 2021, Airbnb received the following types of requests from law enforcement and government agencies globally:

  • General Inquiries: Questions in relation to how to request information on a user.
  • Legal Process Requests: Requests seeking information including personal information about users of the Airbnb platforms in the form of legal process, such as formal written requests, subpoenas, court orders, or search warrants, addressed to the relevant Airbnb entity.
  • Emergency Disclosure Requests: These requests involve an imminent risk of death or serious physical injury to any person. Airbnb has a dedicated team to respond to these requests globally 24/7. If Airbnb reasonably believes the situation constitutes an emergency, Airbnb may disclose data to law enforcement on an emergency basis.
  • Preservation Orders: In certain rare scenarios, Airbnb may be requested to preserve a copy of user data for a specified period of time while a valid legal process for the data is obtained.
  • MLATs: Airbnb receives a user data request from a foreign agency via the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process. In these instances where the originating country is known to us, Airbnb reports the request under the originating country. Where the originating country is not known, Airbnb reports the request under its Irish entity, through which most MLAT requests are received.

How We Respond to Requests

Airbnb has a dedicated global team that evaluates each request for legal validity in accordance with our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, Law Enforcement Guidelines, and applicable laws and regulations. In most instances, Airbnb requires the submission of a valid legal process request in order to be in a position to consider disclosing user information, whether or not service has been properly effected for the request.

Depending on the case in question, law enforcement agencies may request different types of user data. For example, requested data may include user account information, information pertaining to transactions conducted on our platform, and in some instances, subject to specific legal process in certain jurisdictions, contents of communications.

Airbnb’s Law Enforcement Guidelines describe our process for receiving and evaluating requests from law enforcement and government authorities. Where Airbnb identifies a deficiency in a legal process request for user information, the requesting authority is informed about the deficiency along with an indication of what the appropriate process would be in order to be effective. Law enforcement may not always elect to pursue the request by obtaining a compliant legal process or correcting the deficiency, which means Airbnb consequently does not disclose the related user information.

In certain emergency situations, Airbnb will disclose user information without legal process, when we are given reason to believe, in good faith, that the disclosure of information to law enforcement is required to prevent the imminent risk of death or serious physical injury to any person.

Notification to Users

When we receive a request from law enforcement or government authorities seeking a user’s personal information, it is Airbnb’s policy to notify users, unless we are legally prohibited from doing so, such as by a non-disclosure order. Airbnb may also choose not to notify users for additional reasons listed in our Privacy Policy, such as if we have reason to believe that this would create or increase the risk of injury, bodily harm to an individual or group (e.g. emergencies related to imminent threat to life, terrorism, child sexual exploitation, or human trafficking) or notice would be futile, ineffective, or create or increase a risk of fraud upon or harm to Airbnb, our Members, or expose Airbnb to a claim of obstruction of justice.

Where Airbnb identifies a legal deficiency in a non-disclosure order, Airbnb’s practice is to inform the requesting law enforcement authority about the deficiency and indicate what the appropriate process would be in order to be effective. 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 authority (or formally challenged by Airbnb).

During the period covered by this report, Airbnb received legal process requests from 49 countries/regions. These requests come from various law enforcement and government authorities globally.

Key Law Enforcement Response Statistics – Jan. 1, 2021 – Dec. 31, 2021

Total law enforcement requests for user information Total requests where some form of legal process was served (includes invalid/incomplete legal process) Total requests for which at least some user information was disclosed Total user accounts affected by disclosure
4,357 2,972 (68.27%) 1,541(35.36%) 3,632

Key Notes:

User Accounts Affected:

Legal process requests from law enforcement sometimes include requests for more than one user account. Accounts “affected” means the total number of accounts for which at least some information was disclosed in response to law enforcement requests. Where a country’s/region’s number indicates a higher number of ‘user accounts affected’ than ‘requests for which at least some account information was disclosed’, this is due to one or more requests calling for information in relation to a number of user accounts to be disclosed, for reasons justified by the legal process received. 

Invalid Legal Process Requests: 

15.7% of the requests received during 2021 were either invalid/incomplete requests or did not comply with our policies, Law Enforcement Guidelines, or applicable laws and therefore we did not disclose user information. 

The majority of these invalid requests involved legally deficient process from law enforcement.

The remainder of these requests involved legally valid process, but were determined to be either overbroad with regard to the scope of data requested, or law enforcement was unable to demonstrate how the requested Airbnb data was reasonably related to the crime under investigation, if that was a requirement for such a request.

All other legal process submitted by law enforcement resulted in user information being disclosed because it complied with Airbnb’s Law Enforcement Guidelines and applicable laws.

Disclosure Rates:

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

North America 68.80%
Europe, Middle East and Africa 39.27%
Asia Pacific 38.09%
Latin America 18.28%

The disclosure rate is substantially affected by whether law enforcement follows up on our initial response when their request and/or non-disclosure order is not in compliance with Airbnb’s Law Enforcement Guidelines and applicable laws. In addition, there are cases where we do not have any corresponding user account information, even though the law enforcement request may be valid, and as a result there is no information to disclose. For example, occasionally we receive valid requests from law enforcement agencies regarding an address that they believe to be an Airbnb listing, when it is not an Airbnb listing.

Legal Process Requests by Country/Region Jan. 1, 2021 – Dec. 31, 2021

Country/Region Requests Received Requests for which at least some account information was disclosed Disclosure Rate (%) Number of user accounts affected by disclosure
Argentina 4 2 50.00% 2
Australia 232 102 43.97% 170
Austria 26 11 42.31% 19
Belgium 31 13 41.94% 26
Brazil 113 24 21.24% 90
Canada 42 24 57.14% 36
Chile 2 0 0.00% 0
China 5 3 60.00% 33
Colombia 1 0 0.00% 0
Costa Rica 2 1 50.00% 1
Czech Republic 9 3 33.33% 3
Denmark 5 3 60.00% 3
Dominican Republic 2 0 0.00% 0
Finland 4 2 50.00% 3
France 568 309 54.40% 573
Germany 329 157 47.72% 192
Gibraltar 1 0 0.00% 0
Greece 3 0 0.00% 2
Hong Kong (SAR) 1 0 0.00% 0
Hungary 2 0 0.00% 0
India 6 0 0.00% 0
Ireland 23 9 39.13% 12
Italy 91 17 18.68% 24
Japan 3 2 66.67% 4
Liechtenstein 1 0 0.00% 0
Lithuania 2 0 0.00% 0
Luxembourg 3 2 66.67% 2
Malta 3 2 66.67% 2
Mexico 12 3 25.00% 3
Monaco 1 1 100.00% 1
Netherlands 6 5 83.33% 5
New Zealand 6 5 83.33% 6
North Macedonia 1 1 100.00% 1
Norway 11 8 72.73% 17
Peru 1 0 0.00% 0
Poland 11 3 27.27% 3
Portugal 37 5 13.51% 5
Romania 8 3 37.50% 3
Russia 8 2 25.00% 2
Serbia 1 0 0.00% 0
Singapore 3 1 33.33% 1
South Korea 27 15 55.56% 25
Spain 195 47 24.10% 90
Sweden 20 10 50.00% 26
Switzerland 23 10 43.48% 11
Taiwan 1 0 0.00% 0
United Kingdom 349 143 40.97% 245
United States 737 593 80.46% 1991
Total 2,972 1,541 3,632

*A small number of US requests related to short-term rental regulations resulted in the disclosure of information on multiple accounts per request, which resulted in an increase in the number of accounts affected in comparison to past years.

Emergency Disclosure Requests by Country/Region Jan. 1, 2021 – Dec. 31, 2021

Country/Region Requests for Which at Least Some Account Information was Disclosed Number of User Accounts Affected by Disclosure
Australia 20 42
Brazil 1 6
Canada 14 16
Chile 3 3
Finland 1 2
France 11 11
Japan 1 1
Portugal 1 1
Spain 1 1
Switzerland 1 1
United Kingdom 19 25
United States 33 42
Total 106 151