German City Wants Names And Addresses Of Airbnb Hosts; Chinese Province Demands Full Details Of Every Guest Too

from the sharing,-but-not-like-that dept

Online services like Airbnb and Uber like to style themselves as part of the "sharing economy". In truth, they are just new twists on the rental sector, taking advantage of the Internet's widespread availability to broaden participation and ease negotiation. This has led to a tension between the online services and traditional local regulators, something Techdirt noted in the US, back in 2016. Similar battles are still being fought around the world. Here's what is happening in Germany, as reported by Out-Law.com:

The City of Munich asked Airbnb to provide it with all advertisements for rooms in the city which exceeded the permissible maximum lease period [of eight weeks in a calendar year]. Specifically, for the period from January 2017 to July 2018, it wanted Airbnb to disclose the addresses of the apartments offered as well as the names and addresses of the hosts.

Airbnb challenged the request before the administrative court in Munich, which has just ruled that the US company must comply with German laws, even though its European office is based in Ireland. It said that the request was lawful, and did not conflict with the EU's privacy regulations. Finally, it ruled that the City of Munich's threat to impose a €300,000 fine on Airbnb if it did not comply with its information request was also perfectly OK. Presumably Airbnb will appeal against the decision, but if it is confirmed it could encourage other cities in Germany to make similar requests. At least things there aren't as bad as in China. According to a post from TechNode:

The eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang will require online home-sharing platforms, including Airbnb, to report owner and guest information to the province's Public Security Department. The platforms will need to check, register, and report the identity of both parties, including the time the guest plans to arrive and leave the property.

That information provides a very handy way of keeping tabs on people travelling around the province who stay in Airbnb properties and the like. It's yet another example of how the Chinese authorities are forcing digital services to help keep an eye on every aspect of citizens' lives.

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Filed Under: china, germany, home rentals, home sharing, privacy, rentals
Companies: airbnb


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Doone Bidness, 19 Dec 2018 @ 8:07pm

    If doing "business" in a locale, then subject to local rules.

    Why this piece? It could only be if NEW or surprising... Otherwise it's "dog bites man", amirite?

    I suppose that the usual know-it-alls will pop in to say "Nuhn't uh! No office in country means IMMUNE from their laws!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 19 Dec 2018 @ 8:37pm

      Re: If doing "business" in a locale, then Troll

      Please link to your super-cool website with much better news and no moderation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 10:14pm

      Re: If doing "business" in a locale, then subject to local rules

      George Orwell is public domain in Australia. Sucks, don't it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 11:38pm

      Re: If doing "business" in a locale, then subject to local lies

      Remember when you promised to leave?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2018 @ 12:40am

        Re: Re: If doing "business" in a locale, then subject to local l

        I think only a stalker or someone with a serious impediment would cqre about some commenter on an internet site saying they are going to leave.

        Some folks are so lame it boggles the mind.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 6:00am

      Re: If doing "business" in a locale, then subject to local rules

      "Why this piece? It could only be if NEW or surprising"

      Why this comment? You appear to be whining about the same thing.

      But, seriously - the information in these two arguments *are* new - specifically because the laws in those places have been changed IN RESPONSE TO AirBnB. It would be equally newsworthy if they'd changed it because they noticed they need competent mental healthcare professions in your area, as poorly served as it clearly is.

      "I suppose that the usual know-it-alls will pop in to say "Nuhn't uh! No office in country means IMMUNE from their laws!""

      Well, no, because the only people who ever say that are the straw men in your head, and they can't post on the internet, not being real and all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 8:09pm

    The Chinese government action is not new. The current law requires all hotels to collect identifying information for each guest, like scanning a passport, and sending it to the government. Anyone not staying in a hotel is required to report where they are staying to the local police office. This is automating the current process for Airbnb hosts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2018 @ 9:07am

      Re:

      Another reason to never go to China I guess.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2018 @ 2:01pm

      Re:

      What is not clear is if you still need to report your stay to the local police if you stay at an Airbnb. For my last three trips my fiancé and I would go to first the local police station and then the city police station to register my stay. We both need to go together as I show my passport and she shows her household registration, houkou.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 19 Dec 2018 @ 10:22pm

    Are your ducts old and tired?

    I have to wonder if at some point the Chinese population will get fed up with big brother.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2018 @ 3:23am

      Re: Are your ducts old and tired?

      The problem with building giant haystacks is that while they allow backtracking of someones activities, they are largely useless for predicting what someone will do unless they are already under suspicion, and a high priority for keeping tabs on.

      Just look at how often someone committing a terrorist incident was known to the authorities, but nobody was actually looking at them when they prepared and carried out an act of terrorism. The authorities can usually piece to gathered how the act was carried out after the event by going back through all the data they has collected.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 6:01am

      Re: Are your ducts old and tired?

      They will. But the dissidents will be quickly weeded out before they do anything.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Eldakka (profile), 26 Dec 2018 @ 5:38pm

      Re: Are your ducts old and tired?

      I have to wonder if at some point the Chinese population will get fed up with big brother.

      What, you mean like they did with the Tiananmen Square Protests that led to the Tiananmen Square Massacres?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 10:45pm

    The china already does this with hotels for every foreigner. They must be registered at the local PD.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2018 @ 10:46pm

    So a legal entity within the EU (City of Munich) asked a company doing business within that same city to disclose specific information about people who may have actually breached its laws designed to regulate online home sharing. Not the guests - the hosts. That request was deemed appropriate by a court.

    I cannot see how this is any cause for concern, let alone a stub article here.

    Tying the story to the Chinese government's rapacious data collection on the perfectly legal activities of visitors and citizens is just ridiculous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Call me Al, 20 Dec 2018 @ 2:14am

      Re:

      I had the same thought.

      I am actually surprised they didn't ask for details of all hosts so they can cross check with tax receipts. It is likely only a matter of time before that happens.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2018 @ 9:10am

        Re: Re:

        In addition, it will not be surprising that only little people are ensnared by their traps while the wealthy influential are given a free pass. Every now and then a big shot is sacrificed in order to "make a point".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2018 @ 1:14pm

      Re:

      Is AirBnb operating "in" Germany? Or are they just accepting advertisements that happen to talk about German apartments?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 1:47pm

      Re:

      "I cannot see how this is any cause for concern, let alone a stub article here"

      There appears to be a crackdown on businesses that believe they are operating perfectly legally, but get special negative treatment when they start disrupting the business models of incumbent players, even when the new models clearly benefit the average consumer.

      You may disagree with this interpretation, but the fact it appears to be happening is worthy of discussion.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Leather Collection (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 3:32am

    mens leather gloves

    Explore the most elegant range of mens leather gloves and driving gloves at Leather Collection. Premium quality gloves are made keeping in view the fashion trends and your daily needs. Buy now at a moderate price.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 4:11am

    Tempting as it may be to bash the snoopers,

    many countries require hotel guests to register with a passport, and hotels to share the registration information with the authorities.

    If people don't have an issue with those Hotel requirements (even though they should, really!), then it is hard to blame authorities requesting similar information for digital platforms.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Dec 2018 @ 6:03am

      Re: Tempting as it may be to bash the snoopers,

      Hotels do a lot of other things that people who rent their spare apartment out aren't required to do, though. It's very possible for a rule to be fine for one type of company but not fine for the other given those differences.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2018 @ 9:12am

    Do they also have to share the hidden cam videos?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2018 @ 10:16am

    Forty years ago governments wouldn't have tried to use this facial recognition technology just for the chance it might mistake one's identity. How much the world has changed for the worst in just a few decades.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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