Under the Microscope: LinkedIn Loses, But We All Win

This week a court rejected LinkedIn’s effort to stop hiQ, a San Francisco-based startup, from harvesting publicly available data from LinkedIn profiles. The professional networking platform claimed it was an invasion of users’ privacy and violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which addresses hacking. LinkedIn banned the startup from accessing its servers, but hiQ sued and won a preliminary injunction.

The judge upheld it citing:

– LinkedIn’s concern for user privacy were undermined by the tracking and analytics tools they have built, which are similar to hiQ

-Allowing LinkedIn to choose who can and cannot use their data trove would mean similar companies could do the same and create unfair competition

-The data is publicly available and not owned by LinkedIn

-Banning hiQ from accessing the data “established a likelihood of irreparable harm because the survival of its business was threatened”

A court recently sided with a startup over LinkedIn regarding users' publicly available #data. What does this mean for #TalentAcquisition? Take a look: Click To Tweet

What does this mean for the industry? Our Managing Director, Jon Kestenbaum, shares his thoughts:

“This is a great win for both companies and users.

First, it would provide companies in the social search category greater access to data, allowing them to improve their products and services. Second, it creates loose rules on how the industry should be thinking about “company-owned” and “user-owned” data, thereby forcing companies to be more transparent and explicit in their messaging and user agreements. Lastly, this ruling will put pressure on companies to give users greater control of their information.

The EU got it right when they implemented the GDPR and US-based companies should be just as stringent about data protection and privacy.”

What do you think? Email your thoughts to hello@talenttechlabs.com. Want to learn more about the social search category? Click here to download your free copy of the Talent Acquisition Ecosystem.