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Ex-FBI Official Quit Airbnb Over Concerns About Sharing Customer Data With China

By Allan Lengel

Sean Joyce had a solid reputation when he worked for the FBI, rising to the second highest position. So, when he joined private industry he apparently wanted to maintain his integrity.

Sean Joyce/fbi photo

In May 2019, Joyce, the former deputy director at the FBI, was hired by Airbnb, the vacation rental company, as its first “chief trust officer,” a role that involved protecting users’ safety on the platform, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Six months later, he quit over concerns about how the company shares data on millions of its users with Chinese authorities, the Journal writes, citing unnamed sources.

The publication goes on to write:

A high-profile hire for Airbnb, Mr. Joyce grew alarmed during his tenure that the company wasn’t being fully transparent about the data it shares with the ruling Chinese Communist Party government, including for Americans traveling in the country, these people say. He also was concerned about what he viewed as Airbnb’s willingness to consider more expansive data requests from China, the people familiar said.


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