Judge blocks NYC law requiring data disclosure by home-sharing sites

by Kim Boateng Posted on January 5th, 2019

New York City: A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction on Thursday against New York City’s Local Law 146, which would have required home-sharing sites, like Airbnb and HomeAway, to submit monthly reports detailing short-term rental transactions to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement.

The report would include the personal information of hosts including legal name, address, phone number and email address.

Airbnb and HomeAway requested the injunction arguing that Local Law 146 violates the First Amendment by compelling the companies to communicate a message they do not want to communicate to their hosts; the Fourth Amendment by unconstitutionally compelling them to turn over protected information; and the Stored Communications Act (SCA) by requiring the sharing of information without a subpoena.

The court held that the companies’ First Amendment and SCA arguments would likely fail, but granted the injunction on the basis of the Fourth Amendment argument.

On the record at hand, the court therefore finds it likely that Airbnb and HomeAway will succeed in invalidating the Ordinance as unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. That is because (1) the Ordinance lacks a mechanism for pre-compliance review by a neutral of its monthly command that booking services produce their New York City user records; and (2) even if this facial injunctive action were treated as pre-compliance review, the City has not justified its sweeping capture of constitutionally protected records.

Home-sharing sites have filed many lawsuits over recent government regulations.

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