NY attorney general subpoenas Airbnb hosts’ data

From left: Eric Schneiderman and Brian Chesky
From left: Eric Schneiderman and Brian Chesky

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is going after popular short-term apartment rental site Airbnb, subpoenaing data on about 15,000 New Yorkers who use the service to host guests. The subpoenas are part of an investigation into illegal short-term rentals. The site has until today to hand over the data, the New York Daily News reported.

The subpoena comes just days after Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky suggested that the state tax its users rather than ban them outright.

A law enforcement source told the Daily News that Airbnb personnel have not been helpful with the attorney general’s investigation.

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“They certainly haven’t been cooperating with the investigation, despite their public promises to go after the guys the state is after,” the source said.

But Airbnb retorted that the request for data was overreaching.

“Even the politicians who wrote the original law agree it was never designed to target regular people who occasionally share their homes,” an Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement to the Daily News. “We are concerned that this is an unreasonably broad government demand for user data and we remain committed to protecting our users’ privacy.” [NYDN]Hiten Samtani