Scraping public data from a website probably isn’t hacking, says court

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Scraping data from a website likely doesn’t violate anti-hacking laws as long as the data is public, a US court has concluded. Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said LinkedIn probably couldn’t tell an analytics company to stop pulling profile information from its platform. LinkedIn had sent the company, HiQ, a cease-and-desist letter — which has been enough to declare companies “unauthorized” in earlier cases. Here, however, the court ruled that LinkedIn couldn’t use anti-hacking rules to control how HiQ used the data.

As University of California, Berkeley professor and computer law expert Orin Kerr lays out, this seemingly limits one section of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The CFAA prohibits accessing a computer…

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