Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Scraped

Wendy M. Grossman, net.wars, Dec 06, 2020

This article concerns a court case between HiQ and LinkedIn that was heard in the U.S. last fall. Basically, HiQ was scraping LinkedIn's website, and based on its terms of use, LinkedIn wanted them to stop. As Wendy Grossman cynically says, "at its heart this case is about whether LinkedIn has an exclusive right to abuse its users' data or whether it has to share that right with any passing company with a scraping bot." The court sided with HiQ. But not so fast - there's another case being heard now in the supreme court, Van Buren v. United States, that questions whether the unauthorized use of a computer system (a) includes violating a terms of use agreement, and (b) constitutes criminal hacking. The right sort of ruling would not only bar HiQ from scraping LinkedIn, it would make it a crime! I can't really see it, but stranger things have come out of U.S. courts in the past.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Mar 31, 2021 01:36 a.m.