Judge Denies Hawai`i Access to Airbnb Records

HONOLULU, OAHU (Ben Caxton) — The State of Hawai`i is not entitled to see a decade’s worth of Airbnb vacation rental receipts a Hawai`i judge ruled this week. The state wanted to examine the records to look for people who may have avoided paying taxes on their rental income, a move lawyers for Airbnb lawyers called an unprecedented, “massive intrusion” into the private data of 16,000 hosts akin to authorizing the state to go door-to-door in search of people violating the law. In his ruling, Hawaii First Circuit Court Judge James Ashford said the state did not sufficiently show that Airbnb users may have failed to comply with tax laws. In addition, the state did not establish that the information wasn’t available from other sources, he said. A New York City law to crack down on illegal listings and impose fines that would have required home-sharing platforms to reveal hosts’ names and other information was tossed out by a judge just last month, ruling that forcing home-sharing platforms to reveal a “breathtaking” amount of information about their businesses was unconstitutional.

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