Airbnb requesting ID and photo ??

Old Nov 11, 16, 5:25 am
  #1  
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Airbnb requesting ID and photo ??

For making a reservation with Airbnb they request a profile photo, text and copy of my ID.
I have no problem sending this data directly to the host, but not to a public website and company of which I don't know whether it is reliable.
Facebook, Google uses such data for advertisements or privacy infringement, so why not Airbnb ?

I have never booked any accomodation for which they require these data before showing up / checking in.

Produce an ID at checkin has been normal for several decades, but sending it beforehand to an American company ? No way.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 6:34 am
  #2  
 
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It's been their standard practice for years. The idea is that hosts should be assured that their guests are who they say they are before agreeing to let them enter their homes. The host needs to feel secure, as well as the guest (and the ID verification goes both ways). If you don't want to do this, you can stay in a hotel.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 7:08 am
  #3  
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What makes you think sending the information directly to the host would be any more secure and reliable than leaving it in the hands of a multinational company? How would you "securely" send it to the host?

I'm sure a lot of smaller hotels don't take information security that seriously. What happens to the scan of your passport they took, or your other personal information?

http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/t...f=10&t=1631799 an interesting eye-opener. Small hotel in Spain, looking to have their legacy booking system re-written as it's ancient and frequently crashes. The current system dates back to the 90s - credit card details aren't encrypted, personal information isn't encrypted. It's a complete mess.

Google hotel data breach and count how many well-known names you see in the first page of results.

As travelmad478 mentions, id verification is largely about reassurance for both parties - having to upload your id once reduces hassle as well.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 8:28 am
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I agree that online booking systems should be secure. In that sense I trust Airbnb. But the need for pre-uploading a copy of an ID adds an extra risk, despite security of Airbnb.
And I don't trust Airbnb or any big company about violation of privacy.
What does Facebook, Google do ?
In page 55 of an 88 page (numbes are random, but it are many) TOS there is a condition with which you agree that they violate your privacy. And nobody reads this and they know that.

When I book via e.g. booking.com they don't require uploading a copy of my ID, I just have to prduce that on site.

In May 2015 I also booked via Airbnb and I did not have this hassle, so they have increased it later.

I think this is a US vs EU issue. Americans care less about their online privacy than Europeans.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 8:38 am
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As an AirBnB and VRBO host, I can assure you that I feel a lot more nervous about AirBnB bookings than VRBO as AirBnB strictly limits the information the host can receive. I do whole house rentals so clearly I need to be concerned about the security of the house which I am lending to people. AirBnB does not permit me to know their phone number, so I cannot speak to them before the booking, and make an assessment of them - all I have is the "fact" that AirBnB has checked their identity and, on the rare occasion they've rented somewhere else, a review of them as guests.

Likewise, potential renters are not allowed to know my phone number either.

In my view, less privacy is required in these circumstances, rather than more. AirBnB is not like a hotel, it's a private contract between private individuals and it's up to both individuals to be comfortable with the other party.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 9:01 am
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My driver's license information is taken by plenty of businesses. My passport is photocopied in most hotels outside the US, certainly in "privacy-conscious" Europe (US hotels generally do not make copies or scans of IDs). Given that this information is already out there and liable to theft or misuse anyway, I don't see what the difference is in sending it to one more business. Frankly, sending the data in secured form over the internet seems much safer than having a photocopy of my passport sitting in the desk drawer of a random hotel where any employee (or friend of an employee) can access it.

I do not have a FB account, in part because I view its operations as a much greater invasion of privacy, even though FB doesn't ask for driver's license information. With FB, everyone else on the service--plus advertisers--knows way too much about you.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 9:16 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
Frankly, sending the data in secured form over the internet seems much safer than having a photocopy of my passport sitting in the desk drawer of a random hotel where any employee (or friend of an employee) can access it.
Of course, securely stored is the best, but 'securely stored' on a random server in the US is more vulnerable to hackers than securely stored in a random hotel desk drawer as the latter is only accessible by people accessing the hotel physically, while documents on the internet are open for hackers of the entire world.

Originally Posted by lhrsfo
AirBnB does not permit me to know their phone number, so I cannot speak to them before the booking, and make an assessment of them - all I have is the "fact" that AirBnB has checked their identity and, on the rare occasion they've rented somewhere else, a review of them as guests.

Likewise, potential renters are not allowed to know my phone number either.
That makes Airbnb suspicious. When they don't disclose the phone number to hosts and guests, then there is no need to keep my phone number by them.

Do they disclose the ID copy to hosts / guests when there is a booking request ?
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Old Nov 11, 16, 11:33 am
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Well the solution is to not use AirBnb if you don't feel like uploading your ID.

You have literally tons of hotel options available to you.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Statman View Post
Well the solution is to not use AirBnb if you don't feel like uploading your ID.

You have literally tons of hotel options available to you.
Exactly.

Originally Posted by airsurfer
That makes Airbnb suspicious. When they don't disclose the phone number to hosts and guests
They DO disclose the host's and guest's phone numbers once the reservation is made. There is a very simple reason why they don't disclose it beforehand, namely, to discourage people from making payment arrangements outside the Airbnb system and thus depriving Airbnb of its revenue for running the listing service.

Originally Posted by airsurfer
Do they disclose the ID copy to the hosts / guests when there is a booking request ?
No. Neither party gets a copy of the other's ID documents, just a phone number and email address. Airbnb retains the information in case of any bad actions related to the stay, in which case it can be used to chase down the offending party.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 1:01 pm
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
As an AirBnB and VRBO host, I can assure you that I feel a lot more nervous about AirBnB bookings than VRBO as AirBnB strictly limits the information the host can receive. I do whole house rentals so clearly I need to be concerned about the security of the house which I am lending to people. AirBnB does not permit me to know their phone number, so I cannot speak to them before the booking, and make an assessment of them - all I have is the "fact" that AirBnB has checked their identity and, on the rare occasion they've rented somewhere else, a review of them as guests.

Likewise, potential renters are not allowed to know my phone number either.

In my view, less privacy is required in these circumstances, rather than more. AirBnB is not like a hotel, it's a private contract between private individuals and it's up to both individuals to be comfortable with the other party.
As a short-term, whole house renter who uses Airbnb among other services, I never consider a booking confirmed unless I hear that directly from the property lister.
In fact on services that allow "Instant Booking" I always contact the lister first (via the internal messaging function), introducing myself, describing the nature of my booking request, and most importantly, confirming that the availability calender and listed rate is correct.
This is the first step to insure a trouble-free rental. Before I commit to the booking, I like a second interaction - by phone is best, but by personal email if not, to insure everyone will get along. It's obvious if you're renting a room someone's house, but even a whole house rental is much more personal an interaction than any hotel stay. Treating STRs like hotel reservations can lead to issues of clashing expectations. And these can lead to real problems.
Only after laying this kind of groundwork, do I push the BOOK button.
As a data point, following these and other practices in selecting properties, I have used STRs for over two dozen rentals in five countries and every one has been an excellent experience.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 1:28 pm
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As a VRBO and AirBnB host, I will never enable instant booking. I want to hear from my potential guest first, rather than just letting someone book blindly. I don't hesitate to ask for a bit of infomation about potential guests and I am happy to tell them anything they want to know. I give my actual email and phone number (which has to be spelled out as both VRBO and AirBnB will block this within your replies ) and ask for the same from guests. And on the rare occasions where my gut told me something was off, such as claiming it is for 2 adults when really, they are bringing their 4 kids as well, it was right. I do a bit of basic googling about any potential guest and I expect they probably do the same. How does AirBnB know I really am who I say I am just because I scan an id? Oh, right, no such thing as fake or altered id or people using others' ids to circumvent the policy.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 1:34 pm
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As a multiple time renter from Air bnb, I've never been asked for a copy of my ID.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
As a VRBO and AirBnB host, I will never enable instant booking. I want to hear from my potential guest first, rather than just letting someone book blindly.
Same here (I am an Airbnb host). I have had several prospective guests tell me that they're planning to bring pets and leave them in my house alone (against my stated policy), some with whom I knew I wouldn't be able to arrange logistics due to time constraints on both sides, and one who wanted to use my home for a cheesecake photo shoot (!!!). I want a full understanding of the nature of the stay, as well as some comfort with the person who's going to be sharing my house, before I approve reservation requests.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by airsurfer View Post
Of course, securely stored is the best, but 'securely stored' on a random server in the US is more vulnerable to hackers than securely stored in a random hotel desk drawer as the latter is only accessible by people accessing the hotel physically, while documents on the internet are open for hackers of the entire world.
If you think only servers located in the US are vulnerable to hackers, then you're in for a surprise. And a document in a hotel front desk drawer can quickly be propagated elsewhere by someone who wants to do so.
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Old Nov 11, 16, 8:21 pm
  #15  
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This is a silly argument. If OP feels queasy about providing the information, he should not do so and should make alternate arrangements.

This is all about feeling comfortable and apparently this makes him uncomfortable.

If it makes you feel comfortable to hand a FD clerk at some Red Roof Inn your photo ID, so be it.
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