Airbnb Takes Attorney General to Court Over User Privacy

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Airbnb will see the Attorney General in court this week for oral arguments on a subpoena of thousands of records for New York hosts. Airbnb is claiming that while it is in agreement on the purpose of the subpoena — which was made in the interest of seeking out and stopping illegal activity being done by users via the site — the subpoena itself was “unreasonably broad” in its information demands, according to TechCrunch. Airbnb is a Silicon Valley website business that allows individuals to rent out rooms and couches to visiting travelers for a range of prices. This becomes more complicated in states like New York, which has a law against renters subletting for under 30 days.

The affidavit, which will likely be filed on Monday, showed that 64 percent of of the 19,500 and more offerings made for January 31 were for the “entire apartment” and that over 200 of these were from a mere five hosts — something that could suggest third parties are using the site to rent for the owners — according to Reuters.

The same issue has come up in San Francisco. “Under current law in San Francisco, law forbids renting residential apartments for less than 30 days to ensure that our housing wouldn’t be used as de facto hotels. But we know that the current reality is that these laws are broken every day. The estimates are, in San Francisco, over the past year, we’ve seen over 100,000 incidents,” said David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, to NPR.

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