Judge Questions LinkedIn’s Use of CFAA

By on September 6, 2017

September 6, 2017

LinkedIn and other companies often send out threatening letters with bogus claims about the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. When a company named hiQ received such a letter it asked the Northern District of California in San Francisco to rule that its automated access of publicly available data was not in violation of the CFAA, despite LinkedIn’s claims to the contrary. hiQ also asked the court to prohibit LinkedIn from blocking its access to public profiles while the court considered the merits of its request. Judge Edward Chen granted the request, and ordered LinkedIn to withdraw two cease and desist letters to hiQ. “The Court is doubtful that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act may be invoked by LinkedIn to punish hiQ for accessing publicly available data,” he wrote, and added that the interpretation of the CFAA invoked by LinkedIn, if adopted, could profoundly impact open access to the Internet, “a result that Congress could not have intended when it enacted the CFAA over three decades ago.”

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Electronic Frontier Foundation

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