On April 18, 2022, the Ninth Circuit reaffirmed its narrow interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act’s (CFAA) “without authorization” prong in a data scraping dispute between hiQ and LinkedIn. The opinion upheld a preliminary injunction that barred LinkedIn from stopping hiQ from scraping public data from the LinkedIn website and held that scraping such public information likely does not constitute accessing a computer “without authorization” under the CFAA. The opinion is good news for companies employing data scraping practices for publicly available information. More broadly, the decision’s narrow interpretation of the CFAA follows the Supreme Court’s narrow approach to the statute in its Van Buren decision and clarifies (at least in the Ninth Circuit) several questions that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Van Buren left open.
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