When news broke last week that a judge had denied the Attorney General’s request to subpoena user data from popular vacation and apartment sharing site, Airbnb, it seemed like a small victory for the website and the small time entrepreneurs making a quick buck off it.
It looks like that victory was short-lived. According to Brooklyn Brief, after a rather protracted battle, Airbnb and Attorney General Eric Schneider have come to an agreement and the website will release user data to the AG’s office.
According to this agreement, Airbnb will furnish a list of apartment hosts, but their names and identifying information will be redacted. Still, the AG will be able to get contact information for hosts upon request. In the future, those looking to rent through Airbnb “will be furnished with an explanation of their rights and obligations under New York Law before being allowed to use the site.”
Since launching in 2008, Airbnb has become a wildly popular site, especially among New Yorkers who can go out of town or hand over their apartment for a weekend and earn a month’s rent or more while they’re gone. Its use has been especially prevalent in Williamsburg, where, the Daily News reported, Airbnb listings outnumber those in every other neighborhood in the city. In 2013 alone, the North Brooklyn neighborhood racked up 1,694 listings.
While it’s not yet clear if now somewhat-known users will soon have the law rapping on their doors, there is at least some protection in place. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out. Until then, this is what Attorney General Schneiderman et al. had to say about the landmark agreement:
Airbnb and the Office of the Attorney General have worked tirelessly over the past six months to come to an agreement that appropriately balances Attorney General Schneiderman’s commitment to protecting New York’s residents and tourists from illegal hotels with Airbnb’s concerns about the privacy of thousands of other hosts. The arrangement we have reached today for compliance with the OAG subpoena strikes this balance.
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