Airbnb will soon start automatically sending users’ personal information to the Chinese government in order to comply with the country’s laws.
The online lodging service originally abided by China’s rules by requiring people staying in the country to submit passport details, among some other particulars. Now, the data will be part of a system that the government can access at any time, according to Bloomberg.
“Like all businesses operating in China, Airbnb China must comply with local laws and regulations,” Airbnb spokesman Jake Wilczynski told Bloomberg. “The information we collect is similar to information hotels in China have collected for decades.”
Guests may not be the only ones subjected to the snooping, as hosts may have to provide their own information as well.
Airbnb’s geographic policy reform — what some may consider capitulation to a foreign government — is just yet another example of China’s creep into apparent creepiness, and the subsequent comporting from U.S. tech companies. (RELATED: China Warns Tech Giants Not To Help Citizens Around Its ‘Great Firewall’)
Apple seems to be the supreme leader of American corporations trying to curry favor with China due to its massive market.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gone out of his way to please the Chinese on multiple occasions. He learned Mandarin, went jogging through the smog-filled streets of Beijing, joined a high-profile board for a top Chinese university, held important meetings with Chinese officials, and even asked the president of China to give his child a Chinese name. The social media giant, eager to penetrate the country’s paternalistically-protected industries, attempted to stealthily introduce an app, while also reportedly trying to set up an office in Shanghai.
Google and Amazon have also tried to make their way into China, even though the leaders of all of these companies espouse progressive beliefs.
China was given the infamous title of the worst abuser of internet freedom for a third year in a row, due to government censorship and restrictions of basic digital services, rendering a technological environment with an almost complete lack of online privacy. Overall, its human rights record is poor, to say the least, and the aforementioned U.S. tech companies, like Airbnb, will have to balance out those apparent moral concerns with the potential of substantially increased profitability.
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