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LinkedIn Loses Latest Round of Data Scraping Legal Feud With hiQ

April 18, 2022, 6:23 PM

LinkedIn Corp. lost the latest round of its data dispute with hiQ Labs Inc. as a federal appeals court upheld an order preventing the job search site from denying access to publicly available member profiles.

The case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit questions whether a federal anti-hacking law, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, applies to hiQ’s scraping of data from LinkedIn.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled Monday in favor of an earlier order forbidding LinkedIn from blocking hiQ, deciding that questions remain about whether LinkedIn can invoke the computer crime law for scraped data that’s posted publicly online.

LinkedIn had asked for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case after hiQ, a workforce analytics startup, gathered user information to sell a service that alerts employers when their employees are likely looking for a new job.

In June, the justices voided an earlier ruling from the Ninth Circuit and sent the case back for further consideration in light of their decision in another case, Van Buren v. United States, that limited the reach of the decades-old computer crime law.

The Van Buren decision “reinforced” the Ninth Circuit’s previous determination that hiQ had raised “serious questions” about whether LinkedIn could invoke the anti-hacking law against hiQ, according to the panel’s latest decision.

The case is hiQ Labs Inc. v. LinkedIn Corp., 9th Cir., No. 17-16783, opinion issued 4/18/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Vittorio in Washington at avittorio@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com