Hotels

Airbnb signs ex-FBI deputy director as chief trust officer

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Home-rental giant Airbnb has announced the arrival of a cyber security and privacy expert as the figurehead of its new push for brand confidence.

Sean Joyce, a previous deputy director for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), will join the company as its first-ever chief trust officer.

It’s a move that Airbnb says is in the interest of making it “one of the most trusted communities in the world”.

“Airbnb’s hosts and guests are not a product—they are our community and we have a responsibility to protect their trust,”chief operating officer Belinda Johnson said.

“Sean has unmatched experience spearheading game-changing trust and privacy initiatives and protecting people’s safety and security. Our vision is for Airbnb to be the most trusted platform in the world, and I am thrilled that he is joining us to lead our work towards that goal.”

Joyce joins Airbnb from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), where he was a principal in PwC’s Advisory Practice and a member of its global cybersecurity and privacy leadership team.

Prior to his time in the private sector, Joyce spent more than 26 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and departed after serving as deputy director, the highest-ranking career employee in the organisation.

Joyce held numerous other roles with the FBI, including leading the International Operations Division, where he oversaw 75 locations overseas.

“Trust is a foundational element to every interaction in our lives. It is what Airbnb’s community is built on and what enables the sense of belonging between people from different communities and cultures,” Joyce said.

“My goal is to help make Airbnb the most trusted online and offline community in the world, and I am incredibly excited to work with the team at Airbnb to achieve this.”

Joyce will relocate to San Francisco and begin his role on May 17 2019, reporting to Johnson and serving on Airbnb’s executive team.

The arrival of Joyce is a sure sign that the company is taking the issue of consumer privacy seriously during its expansion into end-to-end travel, as his appointment comes amid an ongoing phase of consumer uncertainty surrounding Airbnb’s policies.

In a survey commissioned by IPX1031 of people who had recently stayed in an Airbnb rental, it was found that 58 per cent of respondents worried about hidden cameras in their rental, while 11 per cent said they had uncovered one.

Half of those surveyed also worried about their host having access to their accommodations, while 42 per cent researched their host online before renting.

This comes after a recent incident in which a family holidaying in Ireland discovered that they were being watched on a hidden camera in their Airbnb rental.

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