Web scraping doesn’t violate anti-hacking law, appeals court rules

Enlarge / LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner. (credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1564309

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Daily Crunch: GitHub blocks developers in sanctioned countries

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.
1. GitHub confirms it has blocked developers in Iran, Syria and Crimea
U.S. trade restrictions are trickling down to the developer community: GitHub is preventing users in Iran, Syria, Crimea and potentially other sanctioned nations from accessing portions of the code-hosting service, as confirmed by tweets from its CEO.
The Microsoft-owned code-sharing service says users in sanctioned countries will not be able to access private repositories and GitHub Marketplace, and also will be blocked from maintaining private paid organization accounts. However, public repositories will remain available to everyone.
2. Takeaway and Just Eat to merge in $10B deal to take on Deliveroo and Uber Eats in Europe
Both companies are currently publicly listed, Just Eat in London and Takeaway.com in Amsterdam, each


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FTC gives ISPs green light to block applications as long as they disclose it

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | pictafolio)
When repealing net neutrality rules, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and fellow Republicans argued that consumers had nothing to worry about because the Federal Trade Commission would protect them from discriminatory practices by Internet service providers.
But there was never any good reason to think the FTC could come close to replacing FCC oversight of broadband providers, and FTC Chairman Joseph Simons essentially confirmed as much in a speech last week.
Simons said that “blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization would not be per se antitrust violations.” By contrast, the now-repealed FCC rules prohibited all three classes of behavior on a per se basis, Simons noted. Simons made the remarks at a telecom policy conference hosted by the Free State Foundation, a free-market think tank (see transcript).
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Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1484289

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Amazon caught selling counterfeits of publisher’s computer books—again

Enlarge / At left, a counterfeited No Starch book. At right, the real deal. (credit: left, Bill Pollock; right, Jon Sawyer (@jcase))
Bill Pollock, the founder of the tech how-to book publisher No Starch Press, called out Amazon on February 13 for selling what he says are counterfeit copies of his company’s book, The Art of Assembly Language—copies that Amazon apparently printed.

Just discovered today a new case of copyright infringement directly by AMAZON’S CREATESPACE. Not the first time! This is obviously NOT printed by No Starch. Kindly report any other cases to us. Please RT and share. @amazon @nostarch pic.twitter.com/ayjebwTiOI
— Bill Pollock (@billpollock) February 2, 2019

One of the Amazon printed fakes. Note the poor spine wrapping. @nostarch pic.twitter.com/3pcm0BYVHN
— Bill Pollock (@billpollock) February 12, 2019

Even the photo for the book’s main listing on the Amazon marketplace is of a fake, showing a misaligned spine image.

After Pollock’s post on Twitter on


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1456467

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How I changed the law with a GitHub pull request

Enlarge / The DC Council meets at the John A. Wilson building. (credit: Wally Gobetz / Flickr)
Recently, I found a typo in the District of Columbia’s legal code and corrected it using GitHub. My feat highlights the groundbreaking way the District manages its legal code.
As a member of the DC Mayor’s Open Government Advisory Group, I was researching the law that establishes DC’s office of open government, which issues regulations and advisory opinions for the District’s open meetings law (OMA) and open records law (FOIA). The law was updated last month, and something seemed to have changed: there was no longer a reference to issuing advisory opinions for FOIA. Comparing the DC Code to the act that made the change, I noticed that something was amiss in section (d):

(credit: dccouncil.us)

(d) The Office of Open Government may issue advisory opinions on the implementation of subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2.
It had a


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1415967

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Tim Cook calls for strong US privacy law, rips “data-industrial complex”

Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) in Brussels. (credit: European Data Protection Supervisor)
Apple CEO Tim Cook today called on the US government to pass “a comprehensive federal privacy law,” saying that tech companies that collect wide swaths of user data are engaging in surveillance.
Speaking at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) in Brussels, Cook said that businesses are creating “an enduring digital profile” of each user and that the trade of such data “has exploded into a data-industrial complex.”
“This is surveillance,” Cook said. “And these stockpiles of personal data serve only to enrich the companies that collect them. This should make us very uncomfortable.”
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Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1399403

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FCC tells court it has no “legal authority” to impose net neutrality rules

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaks to the media after the vote to repeal net neutrality rules on December 14, 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Alex Wong )
The Federal Communications Commission opened its defense of its net neutrality repeal yesterday, telling a court that it has no authority to keep the net neutrality rules in place.
Chairman Ajit Pai’s FCC argued that broadband is not a “telecommunications service” as defined in federal law, and therefore it must be classified as an information service instead. As an information service, broadband cannot be subject to common carrier regulations such as net neutrality rules, Pai’s FCC said. The FCC is only allowed to impose common carrier regulations on telecommunications services.
“Given these classification decisions, the Commission determined that the Communications Act does not endow it with legal authority to retain the former conduct rules,” the FCC said in a summary of its defense


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1393399

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EU mandates open access for all publicly funded research by 2020

eu comp council (2) European Union officials announced today that, starting in 2020, any research that owes its existence in some way to public funding must be freely accessible and reusable. Recommendations were also made to encourage investment and ease the passage of startup founders between various European states. The decision arose from a meeting of EU ministers at the Competitiveness Council in Brussels; in… Read More


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