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LinkedIn loses court ruling to keep your profile private

A US judge has ruled at a company is legally allowed to scrape LinkedIn profiles for user data, despite protests from LinkedIn.

Cough it up

Information Technology and Services company hiQ is legally allowed to scrape data from public profiles on LinkedIn and report to employers if they believe you are looking for work elsewhere.

As people tend to update their LinkedIn profiles when considering or searching new work, hiQ has made an industry of analysing profile updates to provide warnings to current employers.

After LinkedIn attempted “various blocking techniques” to keep user info private from hiQ under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Judge Edward Chen ruled sharply in hiQ’s favour.

Judge Chen further declared that LinkedIn’s blocking could be considered “as a means of limiting competition, violat[ing] state law” and impacts open access to the internet.

How hiQ operates

hiQ typically only monitors LinkedIn profiles employed by companies subscribing to their services. But even users working for such companies can take measures still to protect their privacy.

To protect yourself, privacy settings can be accessed through your profile page and clicking ‘Edit Your Public Profile’ via the right-most side of the page, selecting ‘Customise Your Public Profile’, and choosing ‘Make my public profile visible to no one’.

Are you comfortable with user data being scraped for subscribing employers? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

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