Skift Take

A more narrowly tailored request from the Attorney General will strip away some of the fishing expedition elements and focus on the information it does have from the data dive.

Judge Gerald W. Connolly ruled today that the New York Attorney General’s subpoena for Airbnb user information was too broad, and that Airbnb’s move to quash would be granted.

“Based upon the foregoing, the subpoena at issue, as drafted, seeks materials that are irrelevant to the inquiry at hand and accordingly, must be quashed,” Judge Connolly wrote.

“It is hereby ordered that the Court grants petitioner’s instant application to quash the subpoena as overbroad and denies respondent’s cross-motion to compel.”

The Attorney General’s office has stated that it would be reissuing a subpoena to address what it calls “a narrow technical issue.”

The judge’s ruling offered many openings for the Attorney General to issue a new, more narrow subpoena. The Judge Connolly wrote “[Airbnb] has failed to demonstrate that the subpoena is unduly burdensome. [It] failed to demonstrate that the requested information is confidential.”

All other remaining arguments from Airbnb were denied as “unpersuasive or unnecessary.”

Airbnb’s Nick Papas released a statement that said:

This decision is good news for New Yorkers who simply want to share their home and the city they love. Now, it’s time for us to work together. Airbnb hosts and the Attorney General share a common goal: we all want to make New York a better place to live, work and visit. We look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General’s Office to make New York stronger for everyone.

New York State’s short-term rental law prohibits people from renting out their entire home for less than 30 days at a time. Research by Skift and Connotate in February demonstrated that at least two thirds of all Airbnb hosts in New York City were likely breaking this law.

The Attorney General’s office used Skift’s research to respond to Airbnb’s request to squash the subpoena.

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Tags: airbnb, new york state, nyc, sharing

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