Inquiry into Airbnb Ireland UC - January 2024

Date of decision: 31 January 2024

On 31 January 2024, following an inquiry concerning a complaint received against Airbnb Ireland UC (Airbnb), the Data Protection Commission (the DPC) adopted a decision.

The DPC had commenced this inquiry on 8 December 2022, on foot of a complaint that Airbnb had unlawfully requested a copy of the complainant’s ID (ID) in order to verify their identity in order to carry out an erasure request when he decided to discontinue with the registration process. The complainant alleged that during the course of his registration with the platform, Airbnb sought a copy of his identity to complete the registration process. The complainant had entered his email address and phone number. He had also ticked a box to be excluded from advertising emails. The complainant stated that once he was asked to submit his ID documentation, he decided to abort his registration process. He provided his email address and created a password to access an internal area within the platform and within this area he asked Airbnb to delete all of his personal data and ensure that none of his data was transferred to third parties. The complainant stated that he was told that it was not possible to delete his data without his ID. He stated that he did not consider Airbnb’s request to have any legal basis and that it was an infringement of his right to erasure of his personal data.

The scope of the inquiry concerned an examination and assessment of the following:

  • Whether Airbnb had a lawful basis for requesting the complainant’s ID at the point of registration of an account.
  • Whether Airbnb had a lawful basis for requesting a copy of the complainant’s ID in order to verify his identity so that he could delete his account.
  • Whether Airbnb complied with the principle of data minimisation when requesting a copy of the complainant’s ID in order to verify his account and when processing personal data relating to same processing.
  • Whether Airbnb complied with the principles of transparency and provision of information at the point when the complainant’s personal data was collected from him.

As the processing under examination constituted cross-border processing, the DPC’s decision was subject to the cooperation and consistency mechanism outlined in Article 60 of the GDPR and pursuant to Article 60(3) of the GDPR. The DPC submitted its draft decision to the supervisory authorities concerned for their opinion. As the DPC received no relevant and reasoned objections to the draft decision from the supervisory authorities concerned within the statutory period, the supervisory authorities concerned were deemed to be in agreement with the draft decision of the DPC and are bound by it in accordance with Article 60(6) of the GDPR. The DPC adopted its decision in respect of this complaint in accordance with Article 60(7) of the GDPR.

The decision, which was adopted on 31 January 2024, records findings of infringement as follows:

  • Article 5(1)(c) of the GDPR
  • Article 6 of the GDPR

The DPC found that Airbnb did not validly rely on Article 6 of the GDPR as the legal basis for processing the complainant’s ID. Furthermore the DPC found that in the particular situation that arose in this complainant’s case, Airbnb’s requirement that the complainant verify his identity by submitting a copy of his ID in order to make an erasure request constituted an infringement of the principle of data minimisation, pursuant to Article 5(1)(c) of the GDPR.

In light of the infringements of Article 5(1)(c) and Article 6, the DPC issued a reprimand to Airbnb pursuant to Article 58(2)(b) of the GDPR.

The DPC notes that Airbnb has discontinued the practice of requesting a copy of ID in order to verify identity in order to verify erasure requests.

The DPC also notes that following an order made in a previous DPC decision, Airbnb has revised its internal policies and procedures in order to prevent further infringements of Article 5(1)(c), similar to those that occurred in this case, occurring to data subjects in the future.

For more information, you can download a copy of the full decision at this link: Inquiry into Airbnb Ireland UC - January 2024 (PDF, 699 KB).