Airbnb has announced it will turn over user data anonymized, for now to New York
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. But if Schneiderman suspects an Airbnb host
of illegal activity, the company will turn over detailed user information from name to
social media accounts to Tax ID number and more, Gawker reports.The decision
comes as part of a joint agreement reached between Airbnb and the state, which
have engaged in a highly publicized battle over the legality of the popular home
rental company. Schneiderman says Airbnb users routinely violate laws prohibiting
residents from renting out their apartments for less than 30 days, leaving New York
out of millions of dollars in hotel taxes. Schneiderman's office issued a subpoena for
the records back in October, but Airbnb officials had fought to keep them private. As
part of the agreement, user data will initially be substituted with individual codes.
The Attorney General's Office will have one year to review the anonymized data and
receive information from us about individual hosts who may be subject to further
investigation. We believe the Attorney General's Office is focused on large corporate
property managers and hosts who take apartments off the market and disrupt communities.
We have already removed more than 2,000 listings in New York and believe that many
of the hosts the Attorney General is concerned about are no longer a part of Airbnb.
Last week, a judge rejected the subpoena on account of being too broad, but argued
there was significant evidence pointing to "a substantial number of hosts" that are
skirting the state's hotel laws. Airbnb says it has offered to collect hotel taxes in New
York state, Gizmodo reports, but cannot under current state law. The company has
run a considerable campaign to remain operating in New York City, even attempting
to appeal to then-mayor-elect Bill de Blasio weeks before he officially took office.
Source: Huff Post