Airbnb crackdown raises specter of privacy violations

November 17, 2013 03:00PM

 A crackdown on short-term rental sites like Airbnb by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman may supply inappropriate data regarding the habits of thousand of vacationers to the government, according to Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington think tank.

Recently, Schneiderman subpoenaed data from Airbnb as part of a probe into the website’s compliance with a 2011 law, which makes it illegal to rent out an apartments for less than 30 days unless the owner or renter is also present in the home, according to the New York Post.

“The demand isn’t just for the small number of users who might be abusing the system but for information revealing the vacation habits of thousands of New Yorkers,” the think tank said in an open letter.

In New York City there are approximately 225,000 Airbnb users. The Attorney General’s office is currently seeking data on roughly 15,000 New Yorkers that it suspects might be “illegal, highly lucrative hotel operators.” [NYP]Christopher Cameron