Skift Take

The Internet Association's argument highlights the need for New York state and city officials to either enforce the laws on the books or so those users that do use the service legally can do so within set guidelines.

Airbnb got some help in its fight against New York State regulators this week from its very close friends at the Internet Association.

The Internet Association, a non-profit created by more than 15 Internet companies (including Airbnb), voiced its criticism of the New York State Attorney General’s subpoena that seeks detailed information on the site’s rentals and hosts over the past three years.

The organization is not directly involved in the case, but acted as an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, by offering  information that could impact the case. The filed amicus brief is information considered authoritative enough to be used as evidence in a court in support of Airbnb’s petition filed to block the subpoena.

Airbnb is a founding member of the organization whose mission is to “represent the interests of America’s leading Internet companies.” Internet Association CEO Michael Beckerman says Airbnb was not involved in drafting or paying for the brief.

The organization’s primary concern is making sure that law enforcement “is not overstepping their boundaries.”

The brief argues the subpoena will have side effects that reach far beyond Airbnb’s legality in NYC: “Should the Court require Airbnb to comply with the subpoena in its current form, it would set a dangerous and harmful precedent.”

However, Beckerman does not have any other suggestions for how the state should vet the significant percentage of Airbnb users who are breaking the law in NYC.

In regard to the amicus, Airbnb spokesperson Nick Papas said, “We appreciate the Internet Association speaking out against the Attorney General’s overbroad fishing expedition.” But Airbnb would not comment on alternatives to the Attorney General’s subpoena.

This is the first brief of its kind submitted by the association. Beckerman has also written op-eds in support of Uber in the Miami Herald and Denver Post.

The Internet Association, whose other members of the association include Expedia, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Amazon, eBay, LinkedIn, and Google, was founded in September 2012.

Read the Internet Association’s full amicus brief below:

Download (PDF, 651KB)

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Tags: airbnb, nyc, politics

Photo credit: An Airbnb display set up at a launch event in Modena, Italy. Airbnb Community / Flickr

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