standard Breaking: Airbnb User Data to be Disclosed to Attorney General Schneiderman

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (Wikimedia Commons)

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (Wikimedia Commons)

Airbnb, a web site that allows users to rent out lodging to visitors, has reached a settlement with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to disclose its data on apartment hosts in the New York area.

AG Schneiderman had previously subpoenaed this data, contending that most apartment hosts were violating state tax laws and local ordinances forbidding illegal hotels, but a judge denied the request, agreeing with Airbnb’s lawyers that the scope of information sought was “too broad.”

As the Attorney General’s Office simply reissued the subpoena with more specificity, the two parties came to an agreement that will be deemed to comply with the demands of the original request.

A copy of the agreement is attached here. Under its terms, a list of apartment hosts will be provided to the Attorney General, but anonymized and with actual names and identifying information redacted. However, contact information must be disclosed to the Attorney General if a specific request is made. Furthermore, all prospective apartment hosts will be furnished with an explanation of their rights and obligations under New York Law before being allowed to use the site.

Janet Sabel, First Deputy Attorney General of Affirmative Litigation for Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, and Darren Weingard, Deputy General Counsel of Airbnb, released the following joint statement:

“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.”