Social media platform LinkedIn asked the Supreme Court to review whether “scraping” of data from its website amounts to illegal hacking under federal law, in light of the recent court ruling in an independent hacking case this month.
Data analytics company hiQ removed LinkedIn, meaning hiQ used automated software tools to access and copy data from public profiles on LinkedIn.
The scraping practice violates LinkedIn rules, but lower federal courts have prevented LinkedIn from denying hiQ access to public profiles.
Now, Microsoft-owned LinkedIn wants the Supreme Court to determine whether the data scraping that hiQ and others have performed violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, which prohibits “unauthorized access, or exceeding authorized access, to a computer ”.
“[T]The ability of Internet users to control their data and protect their privacy has never been more at risk, and the consequences of massive scratching of public websites are extraordinarily damaging to the hundreds of millions of users of such websites, ”wrote the LinkedIn attorneys. in a brief filed Monday.
Last week, the Supreme Court issued a nuanced ruling on the federal hacking law.
In a 6-3 opinion in Van Buren v. In the United States, the Supreme Court ruled that a person is “exceeding authorized access” to a computer under federal law only when that person accesses information that is off limits and not when conducting an unauthorized search of a database. data that the person can legally access.
LinkedIn’s brief filed this week urges the Supreme Court to address the rest of the federal hacking law and define what “no authorized access” means under federal hacking law.
Any response from the Supreme Court to LinkedIn’s brief could fundamentally change the data analytics industry and the data privacy protections provided to Americans.
Earlier this year, LinkedIn said an archive of user data was available online. The file contained data from allegedly more than 500 million LinkedIn accounts and was reportedly put up for sale on a hacker forum.
Other prominent tech platforms like Facebook and the Clubhouse social media app have also seen large data sets of information that appear to have been pulled from their online websites.
Federal lawmakers are considering different policy proposals aimed at addressing data privacy concerns associated with data pulled from major social and technology platforms.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to review the LinkedIn report at a conference later this week.