Judge Rules In Favor Of Airbnb In NYC, Says Company Doesn’t Have To Hand Over User Info

airbnbsubpoenaAirbnb won one round in a battle against New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman yesterday, when a judge ruled that the company doesn’t have to hand over thousands of customer records. But the AG’s office says it’s already planning a new subpoena.

Schneiderman issued a subpoena back in October 2013, seeking the physical and email addresses, dates of guest stays and how much money hosts raked in for those rentals, among other things. He claimed some hosts were violating New York City’s hotel and tax laws, which prohibit renting out an apartment for fewer than 30 days.

Justice Gerald W. Connolly of the Albany County Supreme Court agreed with Airbnb that the demand for its info was overly broad, ruling that the subpoena wasn’t limited to hosts only in NYC nor to rentals under 30 days in length, reports the New York Times.

The way the subpoena was drafted, it “seeks materials that are irrelevant to the inquiry at hand and accordingly, must be quashed,” wrote the judge.

He did come down on the A.G.’s side in saying that it appeared there were a “substantial” number of hosts that did appear to be in violation of the law, and ruled against Airbnb on many of its objections to the subpoena.

Airbnb claimed victory nonetheless, saying it looked forward to working with Schneiderman to “make New York a better place to live, work and visit.”

“This decision is good news for New Yorkers who simply want to share their home and the city they love,” the company added.

Schneiderman’s office is already suiting up for the next round however, vowing to get a new subpoena on the books soon and find the info it wants.

“Our office is committed to enforcing a law that provides vital protections for building residents and tourists alike,” said a spokesman for the attorney general. “The judge rejected all of Airbnb’s arguments except for a narrow technical issue, and we will reissue the subpoena to address it.”

A Victory for Airbnb in New York [New York Times]

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