In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Van Buren decision this month and its resulting impact on data privacy litigation, the Supreme Court ordered the hiQ/LinkedIn data scraping saga to be remanded back to the Ninth Circuit.
Recall that in March 2020, LinkedIn filed a petition for a writ of certiorari, raising the issue of “[w]hether a company that deploys anonymous computer “bots” to circumvent technical barriers and harvest millions of individuals’ personal data from computer servers that host public-facing websites—even after the computer servers’ owner has expressly denied permission to access the data—“intentionally accesses a computer without authorization” in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.” [Note: Of course, it is all about framing. According to hiQ, the question was instead whether a professional networking website, such as LinkedIn), may rely on CFAA’s prohibition on “intentionally access[ing] a computer without authorization” to prevent a competitor from accessing information that the website’s users have shared on their public profiles and that is available for viewing by anyone with a web browser.]
Well, on June 14, the Supreme Court issued a summary disposition in hiQ Labs, Inc. v. LinkedIn Corp. granting certiorari. The Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s previous judgment, and remanding the case for additional consideration in light of the high court’s ruling in Van Buren. This case is sure to be of interest going forward, as Van Buren’s impact continues to play out in the lower courts. Stay tuned-CPW will be there to keep you in the loop.