US court says web scraping is officially legal

Scraping public data is legal, the U.S. Ninth Circuit of Appeals has ruled in a potentially landmark decision.

The decision follows a decision by a federal appeals court that reaffirmed its earlier decision, including that web scraping (data harvesting, bulk) of data made available to the general public does not violate the Data Protection Act. computer fraud and abuse (CFAA) .

The CFAA is used to determine what qualifies as “hacking” under US law.

hiQ Labs vs. LinkedIn – second round

The decision is the epilogue to a legal battle between LinkedIn and hiQ Labs, a talent management algorithm focused on people analytics and data science machine learning. The latter scraped the profiles of LinkedIn users, something the world’s largest social network for professionals described as breaching its terms of service, amounting to hacking, and was in violation of the CFAA.

LinkedIn lost the first lawsuit in 2019, but even after the second reversal, it won’t give up.

“We are disappointed with the court’s decision. This is a preliminary decision and the case is far from over,” LinkedIn spokesperson Greg Snapper said in a statement.

“We will continue to fight to protect our members’ ability to control the information they make available on LinkedIn. When your data is taken without permission and used in a way you didn’t agree to, that’s not acceptable. On LinkedIn, our members trust us with their information, which is why we prohibit unauthorized scraping on our platform.

news report, Tech Crunch gives it a positive spin, saying the decision is “good news for archivists, scholars, researchers and journalists.”

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“With no decision in place, long-running plans to archive websites that are no longer online and to use publicly available data for academic study and research have been left in legal limbo,” it says. -he.

However, he also points out that the use of web scraping by certain companies, such as that of the facial recognition startup Clearview AI, is borderline illegal. This company has deleted “billions of social media profile pictures” over the years.

Via: TechCrunch

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