New subpoena issued in battle between Airbnb and New York regulators

by Inline Policy on 15 May 2014

New York State regulators have re-issued a subpoena against Airbnb only a day after the courts dismissed a request against the short-term rental company.

On Tuesday, 13th May 2014, Gerald W. Connolly, the Acting Supreme Court Justice, ruled that a request for information was too broad and the demand for information identifying all hosts in New York, including their names and addresses, “seeks materials that are irrelevant to the inquiry.”

However, in response New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman (pictured) has issued a new subpoena which he believes addresses the concerns raised by the judge and rectifies a “narrow technical matter”.

Similar to the original subpoena issued last year, the Attorney General’s office is demanding access to thousands of records related to hosts in an effort to identify bad actors and illegal activity. Airbnb has responded firmly arguing that this is tantamount to an invasion of personal privacy.

Tuesday’s decision is a small victory for Airbnb in what is likely to be a long running battle against New York State regulators. Statements from both sides indicate that there is little room for manoeuvre at this stage.

State Senator Liz Krueger, a strong opponent of the Airbnb model, warned that the “decision gives Airbnb a little time, but it looks like that’s all it gives them”. Meanwhile, this week, Airbnb's Chief Technology Officer and co-founder, Nate Blecharczyk, conceded maybe Airbnb “needs to take a few bullets… so someone later doesn't have to”.

Airbnb’s rapid growth over the last two years has made local authorities and the hotel industry take note and consequently intervene. San Francisco and Portland have separately issued similar legal challenges against Airbnb and many regulators in other cities will be eager to see how the ongoing battle in New York concludes.

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Topics: International politics, UK business

Inline Policy

Written by Inline Policy

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