LinkedIn loses legal 'scrape' as court says your data can be collected by 3rd-party outfits

LinkedIn cannot block San Francisco-based tech startup HiQ from collecting information from public profiles of the social network’s users, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday.

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Microsoft-owned LinkedIn had objected to HiQ’s use of the practice commonly known as “data-scraping.” LinkedIn filed an appeal in response to a 2017 preliminary injunction which required it to remove blocks designed to keep HiQ from accessing user profiles.

HiQ Labs, which developed a “talent management algorithm” to help companies retain employees by alerting them when talent was leaving their jobs, argued that LinkedIn’s action would do irreparable harm to their business, Reuters reported. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s 3-0 ruling upheld the injunction and rejected LinkedIn’s appeal.

“We’re disappointed in the court’s decision, and we are evaluating our options following this appeal. LinkedIn will continue to fight to protect our members and the information they entrust to LinkedIn," the company said in a statement.

HiQ did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.

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The case was considered a test of internet privacy laws. LinkedIn argued that data-scraping practices put user data at risk for misuse by external actors.

The appeals court’s ruling was a “major decision for the open internet,” University of California, Berkeley law professor Orin Kerr told the AP.

"It doesn't establish that scraping websites is completely legal, but it goes a long way toward establishing that it's not a federal crime," Kerr said.

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