Web Scraping Doesn’t Violate Anti-Hacking Law, Appeal Court Rules

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Scraping a public website without the approval of the website’s owner isn’t a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, an appeals court ruled on Monday. The ruling comes in a legal battle that pits Microsoft-owned LinkedIn against a small data-analytics company called hiQ Labs. HiQ scrapes data from the public profiles of LinkedIn users, then uses the data to help companies better understand their own workforces. After tolerating hiQ’s scraping activities for several years, LinkedIn sent the company a cease-and-desist letter in 2017 demanding that hiQ stop harvesting data from LinkedIn profiles. Among other things, LinkedIn argued that hiQ was violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, America’s main anti-hacking law.

This posed an existential threat to hiQ because the LinkedIn website is hiQ’s main source of data about clients’ employees. So hiQ sued LinkedIn, seeking not only a


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