Is data scraping illegal? USA court ruled out LinkedIn appeal against hiQ for scraping their public data

USA court ruled out LinkedIn appeal against hiQ for scraping their data

 A court in USA decided that scraping public data is not a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. 


Few months ago I have concerned about an opportunity to scrap off some data from Lithuanian job search site public database. However, their policy rules stated that it is illegal to scrap data from their site. I have been thinking about it until I’ve seen that LinkedIn lost their case against analytics company.

I believe in a philosophy that the world can thrive when all the public data is put in the hands of smart and generous people that are in power. So this example in which a small company won the case against a giant like LinkedIn proves that law system lets non-confidential information on any site to be crawled by anyone for whatever purposes.

In fact, LinkedIn let hiQ crawl their information for two years before they went to the judge. This continued until they sent a cease-and-desist letter in 2017 demanding that hiQ stop crawling LinkedIn user’s data. LinkedIn thought that hiQ activity contradicts with Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. As higher court overheld lower court ban to scrap data (which had happen first), it also forbade LinkedIn to use technical means that could interfere with crawling process. This happened because hiQ clients relies on the reliability of that data, so “tortious interference with contract” comes to place.