Civil liberties groups flock to Airbnb’s defense

TRD New York /
Nov.November 12, 2013 04:15 PM

Airbnb has garnered new soldiers in the fight against New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s subpoena demanding information about the site’s users: civil liberties groups.

Tapping into a wave of public sentiment wary of government overreach in to citizens’ private information, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy & Technology, two groups focused on tech-related civil liberties, have filed friend-of-the-court briefs stating their support for Airbnb’s petition to block the subpoena. Tech trade group the Internet Association had already done the same, Bloomberg News reported.

The subpoena, the groups argued, was part of an unwarranted dig into personal freedom in a case without immediate evidence of wrongdoing.

“Just because the technology collects the data and makes it easy to disclose doesn’t mean the government is entitled to it all,” Gregory Nojeim, director of CDT’s Project on Freedom, Security and Technology, told Bloomberg in a statement.

State Senator Liz Krueger, who sponsored New York State’s illegal hotel bill, followed up the briefs by sending around an analysis of Airbnb’s business that claims 56 percent of listings for entire apartments on Airbnb violate the state law.

“This shows what we’ve been saying all along — illegal hotels aren’t an aberration in Airbnb’s business model, they are Airbnb’s New York business model,” Krueger said in a statement. [Bloomberg News]Julie Strickland


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