Irony much? Airbnb sues California over law it helped create

Today we found out just how much Volkswagen’s emissions shenanigans will cost the company. Today, US Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General, Sally Quillian Yates, leaned into the German Automaker for “turning over half a million American drivers into unwitting accomplices in an unprecedented assault on our country’s environment” before announcing the settlement was worth $14.7 billion.

Up to 475,000 Owners of the offending Volkswagen vehicles, which don’t conform to emission standards as represented, will receive up to $10,000 in payment, and VW will either have to fix those cars to get them into compliance, end leases, or potentially buy back the vehicles for between $12,500 to $44,000.

Quillian Yates went on to say that the settlement isn’t the end of the matter. VW still faces civil penalties for violating the Clean Air Act, and could face criminal charges as well. Nobody likes a cheater, VW, especially when it comes to emissions.

Airbnb is suing its home city of San Francisco over a law it actually helped create and pass. A couple of years ago, Airbnb worked with the city to draft a law which would help it operate more freely – in fact, the law became known colloquially as the Airbnb law. Recently, though, that same law has become something of a thorn in the company’s side.

On June 7, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to impose a $1000 fine on Airbnb for every unregistered host using the service. Airbnb is pushing back, saying it can’t be held liable for the content published by its users due to the Communications Decency Act. It also admits the law it helped create is overly complicated and simply doesn’t work.

At any rate, if it can’t avoid the fines, the company could end up owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in no time at all, unless it pulls invalid listings from its cite, which also isn’t realistic. The New York Times reports Airbnb is worth about $25 Billion, and it has raised more than $3 Billion in equity and debt. That being the case, a massive shakedown would cost all involved a lot of money.

We’ll keep an eye on this one and see how it turns out, but as angry as the hotel industry is about Airbnb, we’d be surprised if tougher regulation doesn’t become a common conversation in cities across the US, and beyond.

Finally, Google Maps and Google Earth just got some serious upgrades, thanks to brand new imagery from the Landsat 8 satellite.

That’s right, if the last time Google’s eye in the sky managed to catch you nude sunbathing in your backyard or perhaps bent over while pulling weeds, those scenes will soon be a thing of the past as Google has taken new imagery and stitched the best of it all together to create a completely cloud-free, super sharp map of the earth. Go check it out now and see if you can figure out when your neighborhood was shot.

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