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Summary:

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants Airbnb to give over user data for an audit — but the apartment-sharing company will “fight it.”

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photo: Airbnb

The sticky situation between Airbnb and New York City has now gotten even stickier, as the New York Daily News reports that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has subpoenaed the collaborative apartment-sharing service for the user data for 225,000 New Yorkers on the site.

This is another volley in a back-and-forth between the state and Airbnb, which began in September when an appeal board found that a man who rented his room to two Russian tourists did not violate any zoning laws. The ruling reignited the debate over Airbnb’s classification in a 2010 New York residency law meant to keep apartment buildings from becoming illegal hotels. Airbnb offered New York an apparent olive branch last week by proposing an occupancy tax as well as a local neighbor hotline to report abusers of the service.

Airbnb Head of Global Policy David Hantman has responded to the subpoena demand in a post on the company blog, which calls the request “unreasonably broad” and insists that the company will continue to target so-called “bad actors” on the platform without giving away the data of all New York users:

“We are confident we can reach a solution that protects your personal information and cracks down on people who abuse the system.”

The AG’s office has yet to give an official statement regarding the matter but it’s a safe bet this conversation is far from over.

  1. Onward with the over-criminalization of American society. First the Attorney General went after “astroturfing” (does he realize that the vast majority of product reviews on Amazon are fake?); now he’s cracking down on the “sharing” economy to reestablish social order. He should join forces with the Manhattan district attorney, who has been inventing new and interesting ways of criminalizing satire. See the documentation of two exemplary cases at:

    http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    and

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/12/2/3718094/street-artist-nypd-drone-posters-arrested-surveillance

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