Couchsurfing.com Privacy Policy

Effective Date: August 30, 2016

Please read our Privacy Policy carefully to get a clear understanding of how we collect, use, disclose, protect and otherwise handle information about you. By using Couchsurfing services, you consent to the collection and use of your data as described in this Privacy Policy.

This Privacy Policy describes:

  • the information we, Couchsurfing International, Inc. (“Couchsurfing”) collect about you,
  • how we use and share that information, and
  • the privacy choices we offer.

This Privacy Policy applies to information we collect when you use our websites, mobile applications and other online products and services (collectively, the “Services”), or when you otherwise interact with us.

From time to time, we may change the provisions of this Privacy Policy; when we do, we will notify you, including by revising the date at the top of this Privacy Policy. We encourage you to review the Privacy Policy whenever you use our Services or otherwise interact with us to stay informed about our information practices and the ways you can help protect your privacy.

What Information Do We Collect When You Use Our Services?

Information Users Provide to Us

We collect information you provide to us, such as when you create an account, update your profile, use the interactive features of our Services, participate in contests, promotions or surveys, request customer support or otherwise communicate with us. The types of information we may collect include:

  • Basic user information, such as your name, username, gender, birth date, email address, mailing address, billing address, phone number and photographs;
  • Messages and interactive forum information, such as discussion group posts, messages to other Couchsurfing users and information you provide in connection with activities and events;
  • Other background, contact and demographic information, such as your occupation, personal URL, IM username, emergency contact, home descriptions, travel history and plans and other interests and self-descriptions you choose to provide;
  • Information stored on your mobile device, such as your photos, calendar information and contacts, if you have given us permission to access this information; and
  • Information about you from other Couchsurfing users, such as trust ratings, friend connections, public references, and other interconnections and interactions between you and other Couchsurfing users.

Information We Collect Automatically

When you access or use our Services, we may also automatically collect information about you, including:

  • Location Information: We may collect information about your location each time you access or use our mobile application or website, or otherwise consent to the collection of this information. For more information, please see “Your Information Choices” below.
  • Device Information: We collect device-specific information when you access our Services, including your hardware model, operating system and version, unique device identifiers, mobile network information and information about the device’s interaction with our Services.
  • Log Information: We collect log information about how you access or use our Services, including your access times, browser type and language, Internet Service Provider and Internet Protocol (“IP”) address.
  • Information Collected by Cookies and other Tracking Technologies: We may automatically collect information using cookies, web beacons (also known as “tracking gifs,” “pixel tags” and “tracking pixels”) and other tracking technologies to, among other things, improve our Services and your experience, monitor user activity, count visits, understand usage and campaign effectiveness, and tell if an email has been opened and acted upon. For information about removing or rejecting cookies, please see “Your Information Choices” below.

Information We Collect from Other Sources

We may also obtain information from other sources and combine that with information we collect through our Services. For example, if you create or log into your Couchsurfing account through a third-party social networking site, we will have access to certain information from that site, such as your name, profile picture, connections and other account information in accordance with the authorization procedures determined by such third-party social networking site.

Some of this information may be shared with other users, for example they may be able to see your connections who are also Couchsurfing users. Please see “Your Information Choices” below for more information about how to manage your sharing preferences.

How Do We Use this Information?

We use information about you for purposes described in this Privacy Policy or otherwise disclosed to you on or in connection with our Services. For example, we may use information about you to:

  • Operate and improve our Services;
  • Protect the safety of Couchsurfing users and provide our verification service;
  • Send you technical notices, updates, security alerts and support and administrative messages;
  • Respond to your comments, questions and requests and provide customer service;
  • Communicate with you about products, services, offers, promotions, rewards and events and provide other news and information about Couchsurfing and other third parties;
  • Monitor and analyze trends, usage and activities in connection with our Services;
  • Personalize the Services, which may include providing content or features that match user profiles or interests;
  • Process and deliver contest entries and rewards; and
  • Link or combine with other information we get from third parties to help understand your needs and provide you with better service.

Transfers of Your Personal Information Abroad

Couchsurfing may store and process personal information in the United States and other countries, where under local laws you may have fewer legal rights. However, wherever we store your information we will treat it in accordance with this Privacy Policy. Couchsurfing participates in the US-EU Privacy Shield Framework and has certified our adherence to the Privacy Shield Principles of Notice, Choice, Accountability for Onward Transfer, Security, Data Integrity and Purpose Limitation, Access, and Recourse, Enforcement, and Liability with respect to personal data collected from members in the EU. For more information about the Privacy Shield program and to view Couchsurfing’s certification, please review the Privacy Shield List on the U.S. Department of Commerce's Privacy Shield website.

Sharing of Information

We will not share information about you with outside parties except as described below or elsewhere in this Privacy Policy:

  • With your consent, including if we notify you through our Services that the information you provide will be shared in a particular manner and you subsequently agree to provide such information;
  • With third party vendors, consultants and other service providers who need access to such information to carry out their work for us;
  • With others who access or use our Services in accordance with the privacy settings you establish (please see “Your Information Choices” below for more information about how to manage your sharing preferences);
  • With search engines in order to index the content you provide as part of a discussion forum or public profile;
  • With partners who run contests, special offers or other events or activities in connection with our Services;
  • In connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of company assets, financing or acquisition of all or a portion of our business to another company;
  • If we believe that disclosure is reasonably necessary to comply with any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request, including to meet national security or law enforcement requirements; and
  • To enforce our agreements, policies and Terms of Use to protect the security or integrity of our Services; or to protect Couchsurfing, our users or the public from harm or illegal activities.

We may also share aggregated or de-identified information, which cannot reasonably be used to identify you.

Couchsurfing is responsible and liable if third-party agents that it uses to process the personal data on its behalf do so in a manner inconsistent with the Privacy Shield Principles, unless Couchsurfing proves that it is not responsible for the event that allowed the damage to occur.

Social Media Tools

Couchsurfing may offer social sharing features or other integrated tools which let you share actions you take on our Services with other media, and vice versa. The use of such features enables the sharing of certain information with your friends or the public, depending on the settings you establish with the third party that provides the social sharing feature. For more information about the purpose and scope of data collection and processing in connection with social sharing features, please visit the privacy policies of the third parties that provide these social sharing features. Couchsurfing may also allow you to access Google Maps. Please note that when you use Google Maps, you are subject to Google’s privacy policy, as amended by Google from time to time.

Third Party Links

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services as part of our Services. These third parties may have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the activities of these third parties and how they collect, use or share information about you. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our Services and welcome any feedback about these third parties.

Advertising and Analytics Services Provided by Others

We may allow third parties to serve advertisements on our behalf across the Internet and to provide analytics services in relation to the use of our Services. These entities may use cookies, web beacons and other technologies to collect information about your use of the Services and other websites, including your IP address and information about your web browser and operating system, pages viewed, time spent on pages, links clicked and conversion information. This information may be used by Couchsurfing and others to, among other things, analyze and track data, determine the popularity of certain content, deliver advertising and content targeted to your interests on our Services and other websites and better understand your online activity. Please note that we may share aggregated, non-personal information, or personal information in a hashed, non-human readable form, with these third parties. For example, we may engage a third party data provider who may collect web log data from you or place or recognize a unique cookie on your browser to enable you to receive customized ads or content. These cookies may reflect de-identified demographic or other data linked to information you voluntarily provide to us (e.g., an email address) in a hashed, non-human readable form. For more information about interest-based ads, or to opt out of having your web browsing information used for behavioral advertising purposes, please visit www.aboutads.info/choices.

How Do We Protect Visitor Information?

Couchsurfing takes reasonable measures to help protect information about you from loss, theft, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction.

Your Information Choices

Privacy Settings

You may change your privacy settings and determine whether certain information about you will be visible to others by navigating to "Account & Settings" on our website and editing your "Privacy Settings."

Account Information

You may update or correct information about you or deactivate your account at any time by logging into your account and editing your profile. Couchsurfing will not provide members access to account data that is not already available to a logged in member. Even after you deactivate your account, we may retain certain information as required by law, for legitimate business purposes or to protect member safety. If your account is deactivated, Couchsurfing will provide access to the data associated with the deactivated account upon receipt of the required legal documentation.

Location Information via Mobile Device


You have the ability to turn location-based services on and off by adjusting the settings of your Internet browser or mobile device and by following the standard uninstall process and removing Couchsurfing’s application from your device. Doing so, however, may mean that you cannot use all or a portion of our Services.

Cookies

Most web browsers are set to accept cookies by default. However, you can choose to set your browser to remove or reject browser cookies. Each browser is a little different, so look at your browser's help menu to learn the correct way to modify your cookies, or visit www.allaboutcookies.org. Please note, however, that our Services may not function properly if your browser does not accept cookies.

Promotional Communications


You may opt out of receiving promotional communications from Couchsurfing by following the instructions in those emails or by adjusting the appropriate settings in your profile. If you opt out, we may still send you transactional or relationship messages, such as emails about your account.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us here or via mail at PO Box 7775 ECM 86600, San Francisco, CA 94120, United States or email at privacy@couchsurfing.com.

In addition, EU members can direct privacy-related inquiries or complaints to privacy@couchsurfing.com. If you do not receive timely acknowledgment of your inquiry or complaint, or if your inquiry or complaint is not satisfactorily addressed by Couchsurfing, you can refer your inquiry or complaint to TRUSTe, fax it to +1 415-520-3420, or mail it to TRUSTe Safe Harbor Compliance Department, 835 Market Street, Suite 800, Box 137, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States. If you are faxing or mailing TRUSTe to lodge a complaint, you must include the following information: the name of the company, the alleged privacy violation, your contact information, and whether you would like the particulars of your complaint shared with the company. If neither Couchsurfing nor TRUSTe resolves your complaint, you may have the option of engaging in binding arbitration through the Privacy Shield Panel. For information about TRUSTe or the operation of TRUSTe’s dispute resolution process, click here or request this information from TRUSTe by using the contact information provided above. The TRUSTe dispute resolution process shall be conducted in English. Couchsurfing is subject to the investigatory and enforcement powers of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).