(Adds LinkedIn response, case background, paragraphs 3-9; adds
By Salvador Rodriguez
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 14 (Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge on
Monday ruled that Microsoft Corp’s LinkedIn unit cannot
prevent a startup from accessing public profile data, in a test
of how much control a social media site can wield over
information its users have deemed to be public.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco granted a
preliminary injunction request brought by hiQ Labs, and ordered
LinkedIn to remove within 24 hours any technology preventing hiQ
from accessing public profiles.
“To the extent LinkedIn has already put in place technology
to prevent hiQ from accessing these public profiles, it is
ordered to remove any such barriers,” Chen’s order reads.
LinkedIn plans to challenge the decision, a company
“We’re disappointed in the court’s ruling,” the spokeswoman
said. “This case is not over. We will continue to fight to
protect our members’ ability to control the information they
make available on LinkedIn.”
The dispute between the two tech companies has been going on
since May, when LinkedIn issued a letter to hiQ Labs instructing
the startup to stop scraping data from its service.
HiQ Labs responded by filing a suit against LinkedIn in
June, alleging that the Microsoft-owned social network was in
violation of antitrust laws. HiQ Labs uses the LinkedIn data to
build algorithms capable of predicting employee behaviors, such
as when they might quit.
The case is considered to have implications beyond LinkedIn
and hiQ Labs and could dictate just how much control companies
have over publicly available data that is hosted on their
Representatives of hiQ Labs did not reply to requests for
(Reporting by Salvador Rodriguez and Dan Levine; Editing by Tom
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