Court Determines: Start-ups permitted to gather user data from LinkedIn | Ariel Yosefi talks to The Marker
21 August 2017
Can businesses legally gather data automatically from publicly-available websites? A federal court in California has ordered LinkedIn to remove a technical restriction that prevented start-ups from collecting public data automatically.
The ruling granted at the beginning of the week, is of great significance for technology firms, as start-ups use a similar practice to that of “scraping” and analysis of public data from commercial websites and social networking sites in order to offer their services.
“Although this is only a temporary relief and rather than the main claim, the judge examined whether the balance of power is weighted in favour of the start-ups or LinkedIn”, says Adv. Ariel Yosefi, Head of the Technology and Regulation Department at Herzog, Fox & Neeman. “In this context, the court determined that start-ups have a good chance of proving that this practice is not in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and therefore the restriction was unjustified. The CFAA forbids unauthorised access to computer material, but was defined before the internet age and referred to the physical accessing of central computer systems. This ruling is important as it redefines the term “illegal access” to match the nature of information available on social networks today”.