NY's Attorney General Demands All Data On NYC AirBNB Rentals

from the chilling-effects dept

What is it with states attorneys general and their attacks on innovation? The latest news is that NY's AG, Eric Schneiderman, is demanding data from AirBnB on all 15,000 users in NYC who have rented out their place. This comes after a ruling back in May saying that an apartment owner renting out his place was guilty of running an illegal hotel (that was just overturned). Of course, the very day that original ruling happened, I'd been trying to rent a place in NYC on AirBnB -- and I even had a guy who had agreed to rent me the place pull back, saying that because of the legal issues he was removing his apartment from the site. I'm about to go to NYC again, and have another AirBnB place lined up -- but am now nervous that this one, too, will disappear.

The NY AG's office claims that they're only going after a small number of "bad" AirBnB users, mainly "landlords doing long-term illegal rentals," but if that's the case, why does it need information on 15,000 users. If anything, that's going to create massive chilling effects. Services like AirBnB provide tremendous amount of value on both sides of the equation -- homeowners are able to make extra cash (sometimes significant amounts) while travelers are able to rent out nice places at lower rates than hotels. It's a good deal that's pretty efficient across the board. The NY AG's office claims that this leaves out neighbors who may be impacted, but it seems like there are much better ways to deal with neighbor problems than having to go trolling through all of AirBnB's records.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Oct 7th, 2013 @ 4:57pm

    *Sigh* All right Mike, what were you planning to do in your rented place? Go on tell us, we're all friends here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Alan Simpson, Oct 7th, 2013 @ 5:14pm

    Airbnb

    We need to remember like everything else - This is for the Children.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    miatajim (profile), Oct 7th, 2013 @ 5:38pm

    "What is it with states attorneys general and their attacks on....."

    Simple, Local guy builds name goes to congress. After 4-10 years lobbying "job" for life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Paraquat (profile), Oct 7th, 2013 @ 5:55pm

    fighting terrorism

    The government needs AirBnB's records to fight terrorism. If they had that info back in 2001, the World Trade Center would never have been destroyed. Bin Laden uses AirBnB, sends his emails via LavaBit, uses open-source software (thus violating Microsoft's software patents), and sings "Happy Birthday" without paying copyright royalties. Only when these are banned worldwide will we be safe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2013 @ 6:36pm

    This type of short term rental is pretty common throughout the rest of the world, what is so special about New York that this can't be done in New York. Is there not enough Kick-Back to city officials.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2013 @ 6:44pm

    Re: fighting terrorism

    Actually, maybe this is to do with the War on Terrorism. I imagine it's much harder to surreptitiously gather guest records from some random homeowner than it is from an established business.

    The goal here was clearly not to act silently (otherwise they would've used a gag order), but to try to discourage people from using services that don't cooperate with the NSA/Homeland Security/etc.
    A bit anti-competitive there, but I suppose capitalism is a small sacrifice in the eternal war against Terror.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2013 @ 8:02pm

    Re:

    Simple, peasants engaging in land owning and renting? Why that is simply unacceptable to the nobility.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Oct 7th, 2013 @ 9:13pm

    It's likely obvious why Eric Schneiderman wants all of the records. Just follow the money. Find out the amount of contributions he's getting from the hotel industry and you'll have your answer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 2:20am

    Hotel tax

    Hotel taxes and fees are big business. I suspect NY thinks they aren't getting everything they desire.

    Example: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/html/business/hotel.shtml

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    nasch (profile), Oct 8th, 2013 @ 6:29am

    Chilling effects

    If anything, that's going to create massive chilling effects.

    There's a good chance that is the whole point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    wayout, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 6:46am

    Yep, just follow the money.."Hotel taxes and fees are big business"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2013 @ 8:10am

    no need to panic. the information the NYC AG is after is only metadata, so it wont give away anything much. just ask your local NSA representative. they'll reassure you!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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