Posted by MBL Web Design
A San Francisco judge has made a key ruling that will stop LinkedIn from blocking third-party bots from mining members' data from its website.
The Microsoft-owned company had previously wanted to protect members who made changes to their LinkedIn profiles, mostly in anticipation for courting new employers.
However, as can be imagined, that wouldn't make current employers of those job-hunters too happy.
LinkedIn argued that some third-party companies, claiming to offer clients accurate predictions of forthcoming risks to turnover and future skill gaps, were using private LinkedIn member data in contradiction to the website's terms of service.
Yet the judge has ruled that LinkedIn cannot scrap members' data through any technical means, keeping it open for bots to mine.
It's an interesting ruling, particularly for those maintaining a website. After all, it's thought that 60% of website 'visitors' are actually bots.
These bots can be used to either improve and hinder a website's chance of success on search engines, including malicious processes such as hacking and scraping.
This 'scraping' sees bots duplicate and publish content from a website.
This can lead to Google punishing the original website's search engine position for this duplication, despite the owners having done nothing wrong, due to it being perceived as a 'black hat' SEO tactic.
So while this legal ruling intends to enshrine freedom of information, it does set an interesting precedent in an already legally grey area.