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LinkedIn announces court win in ongoing data scraping case

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LinkedIn issued a cease-and-desist letter to hiQ in 2017

LinkedIn has announced a win in a six-year lawsuit against hiQ Labs Inc., a now dormant company that had scraped LinkedIn data.

hiQ, which was founded in 2012, went dormant by 2019 after being unable to find further investors and the loss of major clients, according to court records.

hiQ’s products included “Keeper,” designed to analyze and predict the retention risks for the employees of a given employer and indicate which employees were at greatest risk of being recruited away, according to court documents. hiQ’s other product, “Skill Mapper,” aggregated and summarized the skills possessed by an employer’s workforce by analyzing all of the skills employees listed in their LinkedIn profiles, including from previous roles.

In its operations, hiQ attempted to reverse engineer LinkedIn’s systems to avoid detection by simulating human site-access behaviors, according to court documents. hiQ also hired independent contractors known as “turkers” to conduct quality assurance while logged in to LinkedIn by viewing and confirming hiQ customers’ employees’ identities manually. When LinkedIn’s defenses restricted the turkers’ real accounts, hiQ instructed them to create fake ones.

LinkedIn issued a cease-and-desist letter to hiQ in 2017.

Sara Wight, VP, Legal-litigation, Competition and Enforcement at LinkedIn, wrote in a post. “The court ruled that LinkedIn’s user agreement unambiguously prohibits scraping and the unauthorized use of scraped data as well as fake accounts, affirming LinkedIn’s legal positions against hiQ for the past six years. The court also found that hiQ knew for years that its actions violated our user agreement, and that LinkedIn is entitled to move forward with its claim that hiQ violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.”

 

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