By now you’ve heard about the $10.9 billion lawsuit filed against the hosting service Airbnb against the Federal Trade Commission, and you’ve seen how much it sucks for those of us who rely on them.
That’s because Airbnb is not only ripping off our sites and apps but also ripping off the entire tech industry.
And if we’re honest with ourselves, it sucks even more.
The FTC has a history of filing cases against tech companies that are ripping off consumers.
In fact, in the past two years alone, the FTC has filed more than 400 consumer fraud lawsuits against tech vendors.
Airbnb, by contrast, is not even a tech company, but rather a rental platform that allows people to rent out their homes for short-term stays and pay a monthly fee to host their own sites.
That is, Airbnb hosts are not technically “tech companies,” and they’re not even allowed to host sites or apps that have a “tech name.”
The FTC also found that Airbnb hosts were not required to abide by any of the FTC’s terms of service.
The complaint filed today accuses Airbnb of violating Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects people’s right to be free from online harassment.
It claims that Airbnb is violating Section 30 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by failing to provide a notice to users before their data was sold to third party websites.
This would be an obvious violation of Section 230, because it’s unlawful for anyone to make a “data monetization” claim without first informing the user that the data is being sold to a third party.
Airbnb has already apologized to users and is working to get its site up and running again.
It’s also suing the FTC, asking the court to dismiss the FTC lawsuit and to award it an additional $1.2 million in fees.
In addition to being a ripoff, the lawsuit also accuses Airbnb hosts of selling users data without consent, which is also a violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
But Airbnb isn’t the only tech company that is doing this, either.
Google and Amazon have been accused of selling user data to various third parties without users’ consent.
In 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit against Google and others claiming that they violated Section 230.
Google admitted that it did this to users on its search engine, and the FTC found that it was not.
The settlement with Google included a provision that required Google to make changes to its site to make it clearer that it’s not doing this.
In 2016, Amazon settled with the FTC over the same issues.
In 2017, Microsoft agreed to pay $6.7 million to settle a similar FTC lawsuit.
And in 2018, Facebook agreed to a $1 million settlement with the SEC over a similar privacy violation that also involved its search algorithm.
In total, tech companies have agreed to give users more information about their privacy.
But it’s the FTC that’s taking the lead in addressing this problem.
The case against Airbnb is being brought by the FTC because the site’s owners are violating Section 31 of the FCC’s Communications Decentralization Act, the law that gives broadband providers authority to regulate how they collect and use consumers’ data.
In its complaint, the agency argues that Airbnb violated Section 31 by failing “to give users notice of the type of data that the company would be able to collect and/or to delete from users’ accounts.”
The complaint also claims that “it is unclear how Airbnb will enforce its data policy.”
Airbnb’s website states that its data collection policy “allows users to control their data and control their privacy.”
But the site says that it does not “identify or sell personal data to unaffiliated third parties.”
It does not provide any guidance about what data is or is not permitted to be collected.
And it does, however, explicitly say that users must be notified if they choose to share personal information with third parties, and that they should be able “to revoke consent for sharing data.”
And in its terms of services, Airbnb provides a disclaimer that it “does not sell personal information to third-parties.”
But in addition to this vague language, Airbnb says that users can also “delete their account from Airbnb if they wish.”
This section of its terms does not appear to address whether users can request deletion of their personal information from the site.
If users can’t delete their account, that leaves them with two options: to pay an additional fee to have it deleted, or to permanently delete their data.
If you decide to pay for the removal, it may also be difficult for the FTC to prove that the fees were reasonable.
Users can also request that the website permanently delete personal information that they have uploaded to