back to article hiQ prevails / LinkedIn must allow scraping / Of your page info

A US judge has ruled that LinkedIn must allow an analytics outfit to scrape data from its public profiles. Judge Edward Chen, of the US Northern California District Court, granted a temporary restraining order Monday that forbids the social-network-for-suits from blocking hiQ Labs' bots to public-facing profiles. The ruling [ …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Okay... this is just plain stupid...

    Are the courts claiming that a private company has the legal right to access the server resources and database of a third party in a way that the third party clearly states is against their ToU?

    And they're getting away with it because that company built a business on breaking that ToU?

    1. MrXavia

      Re: Okay... this is just plain stupid...

      I see it more along the lines of, if the information is published so a human can read it, there is no reason an automated tool shouldn't be able to do the same.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Okay... this is just plain stupid...

        Didn't we have this argument back in the days of the phone book and yellow pages being copied?

    2. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Re: Okay... this is just plain stupid...

      This is 99% pre-trial "the legal arguments aren't solid enough to justify blocking before the trial has even started."

      That's all. The trial hasn't happened yet, so the court's not made a ruling beyond "carry on as you are until the trial says otherwise".

  2. David Roberts


    Is automating a manual process (browsing public records) something you can legally ban?

    There is a lot of this kind of thing going on and many businesses built on it.

  3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Will no-one think of the robots.txt

    "authorization" is required to access the public profile pages on LinkedIn. is very clear. Near the end is:

    User-agent: *

    Disallow: /

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Re: Will no-one think of the robots.txt

      I don't think there's case law giving robots.txt any legal weight at all (unlike actual password/account protection), yet.

      I'm fairly sure that past legal cases around blocking scrapers have focused on the website operator's right/responsibility to keep the site stable and minimise running costs (by blocking things that spam the DB or eat your bandwidth with inhuman rates of data access).

  4. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

    Putrid business model?

    Never mind the scrape-or-do-not-scrape, is this the company that is making money off selling employers whether their minions are using LinkedIn for job hunting and networking? What the hell else do people seriously use LI for? It sure as hell isn't those endless "motivational updates" by sales and marketing droids. If so, that putrid mob needs to be burned with fire!

  5. Teiwaz

    Do the linkin scrape

    Personally, I view linkedin much the same way I view dogshit - to be scraped off rather than scraped for all the crap in contains.

    I got out when strange people from parts of the world I wouldn't visit started asking me to invite them as a 'link' - I felt like I was being collected like baseball cards...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do the linkin scrape

      I tried, and I mean really tried to have a linkedIn profile that was total shite. All my work history was wrong. I only created it so that I could check the profiles of the people I was interviewing which also turned out to be full of crap... but that is another story.

      My cunning plan came to nothing when one of the people I worked with linked to me.

      Then I started to get emails from companies that were suppliers to other parts of the company I worked for asking for opinions on their products. A clear WTF! moment.

      That day, I deleted my LinkedIn account.

      It has become nothing more than a cesspit of crap. It was bad but since you know who has taken over, it has got a lot worse.

      Let it die. It was once a good idea but now corporate interests have taken over.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do the linkin scrape

        I treat it like Myspace, and just let my profile rot. I never had much information in it, and haven't updated it for years. I logged in a couple years ago for the first time in like 3-4 years and added a few people who had requested me to add them, and despite more people trying to add me since then I haven't bothered to come back. There's zero value in it for me. For all the complaining people here do about Facebook, I find that 100x more useful than Linkedin. It serves no purpose for me whatsoever.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: Do the linkin scrape

          "...about Facebook, I find that 100x more useful than Linkedin. It serves no purpose for me whatsoever."

          So basically 100 * 0 = 0 still?

          Sounds about right.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Do the linkin scrape

            Yes Facebook is useless too, but has plenty of entertainment value. Linkedin doesn't even have that.

  6. Jim Whitaker

    It's public

    Which bit of "public" do people have trouble understanding?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's public

      You, apparently, have difficulty understanding the rights of a private company to set limitations on what its server resources are spent on.

  7. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    LinkedIn has passed it's "use by" date

    This is why I list cat-wrangling as a skill on my profile. LinkedIn had started to smell before MS bought it - these days I keep my page barely breathing so that I can say, " I don't have a Facebook page, I'm on LinkedIn" but otherwise zzzzzzzz.

  8. GFree

    Fantastic Decision by the Court.. Hope this extends beyond HiQ

    Agree with the court entirely. This is indeed in breach of anti competitive and anti trust laws. Why should a small company be blocked from scraping public profiles while large companies like Google are allowed to index those profiles?

    I recently founded a startup, a segment of the business process involves scraping linkedin profiles that are public and/or available to my account. But [expletive deleted] linkedin, blocks all scraping. I could have gotten an extra hour of sleep this morning, if linkedin allowed me to automated what it already allows me to do manually. Hopefully linkedin looses this case en total and loosen up it's anti-scraping blockades.

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