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Airbnb, Homeaway Take NYC to Court Over New Host Data Law

Online marketplace and hospitality services Airbnb and Homeaway have decided to take legal action against New York City, claiming a recently passed law requiring user data violates the US Constitution.

The two companies filed a lawsuit last week in New York, Bloomberg reports.

According to the New York City law passed last month and set to take effect in February, home sharing platforms are now required on a monthly basis to hand over personal information on hosts leasing rooms or apartments. Airbnb said the law was “an extraordinary act of government overreach” and that it “violates core constitutional rights under the First and Fourth amendments.”

On its part, Homeaway said the measure was at odds with current laws protecting personal and financial data and comes “at a time when legislative, judicial, and public support for protecting against the release of private data shared with Internet services and ensuring valid consent for any such release has never been stronger”.

Mandatory information, according to Airbnb, includes the address of the said property and the full legal name, address, telephone number and email address of the host, as well as other information including total number of days rented, fees received by the platform, the amount paid, the host’s bank account information. According to reports, home sharing companies failing to disclose the required information will face a 1,500-dollar fine for each listing.

The new law has been fully backed by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the American Hotel and Lodging Association as well as affordable housing supporters and is aimed at facilitating the regulation of illegal home sharing practices.

In Greece, meanwhile…

 It should be noted, that Airbnb refused to turn over the personal data of its customers to the Greek Finance Ministry last year.

At the same time, Greece announced on Thursday, that an online registry was now open requiring all property owners leasing rooms or homes short-term via home sharing platforms to enroll and in turn declare relevant earnings.

Greece’s revenue authority went on to note that is was “in advanced discussions with digital platforms operating in the sharing economy (Airbnb, and HomeAway) with a view to concluding cooperation protocols and welcoming cooperation initiatives with other platforms of the sharing economy”.

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