New York and Airbnb reach deal on data
The online lodging listings website Airbnb and the New York attorney general said they had reached a deal concerning data of users of the site.
After six months of talks, Airbnb agreed to provide the attorney general with "anonymized" data on New Yorkers who rent out their homes but not their names, addresses or other personally identifiable information, the site said on Wednesday.
When hosts are under investigation, Airbnb has a year to hand over all identifying data, such as name, telephone number, email and address, Atttorney General Eric Scheiderman said.
The website lets individuals rent out their homes to travelers.
The battle between it and Schneiderman dates back to late last year.
In October, Schneiderman subpoenaed Airbnb to determine whether its 15,000 hosts in the state were violating laws barring renters from subletting their homes for more than 30 days if they are not present there.
At first Scheiderman subpoenaed the site for it to provide all data on New York hosts who had used the site since January 2010.
Airbnb appealed, and a judge last week ruled the attorney general's request was too broad. The latter proceeded to narrow it.
The attorney general is concerned about people running what amount to illegal hotels.
"We wanted to do everything we could to avoid turning over data on thousands of regular New Yorkers, so we continued to work with the Attorney General's Office and we now believe we have reached an agreement that will protect the privacy of thousands of Airbnb hosts," Airbnb said on its blog.
It recently acknowledged that some large real estate managers were using the site in an abusive way by taking properties off the market to rent them out to travelers.
It said that it had removed about 2,000 New York listings.
New York is Airbnb's top market, which in 2014 will generate 768 million dollars in economic activity, according to David Hantman, the site's PR chief.
The site features some 25,000 ads from 15,000 hosts in the state, Scheiderman's office says.
© 2014 AFP