The U.S. Supreme is giving LinkedIn another chance to prevent its user data from being harvested, in a case with far-reaching implications.
A company called hiQ Labs Inc was harvesting data from LinkedIn’s site, including the personal data from users’ professional profiles. LinkedIn demanded hiQ stop scraping its data in 2017 but hiQ sued, accusing LinkedIn of anticompetitive behavior.
A lower court had ruled that LinkedIn could not stop hiQ from scraping the data, despite LinkedIn arguing that hiQ was scraping far more than any human could. In addition, LinkedIn accused hiQ of selling some of the data.
The Supreme Court has given LinkedIn another chance, sending the case back the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to Reuters. At the heart of the issue is whether the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act applies to cases such as these, preventing companies from scraping data from competitors.
The Supreme Court wants the lower court to reexamine its decision in light of its recent decision involving the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, limiting the scope of crimes that can be prosecuted under the law.
However the courts rule, the case has profound implications for the future of the internet, as it will help determine who controls publicly available information, and whether third-party companies can profit from it without permission.