Is Data Scraping Illegal?

The question comes up repeatedly “is data scraping illegal?” 

Extracting data from the web has always been one of those “gray” area topics…. until now. 

If we look to the court room battle between HiQ Labs and LinkedIn we can gain much clarity on the legality behind data scraping.

LinkedIn felt that HiQ’s business of scraping data and selling it to employers violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA.) But the court ruled against that viewpoint and essentially that to violate the CFAA you would have to “Circumvent a computer’s generally applicable rules regarding access permissions, such as username and password requirements.” 

Since the information being scraped was all public the scraping of LinkedIn was ruled to not fit the description of a CFAA violation.

In 2016, LinkedIn sent a C&D to HiQ threatening to sue them for scraping data. Instead, HiQ sued first saying that the practice was Legal. The court ruled that  “Linkedin has no protected property interesting in the data contributed by it’s users, as the users retain ownership over their profiles. And as to the publicly available profiles, the users quite evidently intend them to be access by others for commercial purposes.” 

Create Your Lead Account

Our View At Lead Carrot

Publicly accessible data is fair game, but the way you market to that data will impact your companies brand. Also, scraping data can cause heavily strain on a companies server if not done properly, therefore, we put measures in place to ensure that we never harm the companies ability to interact with their customers. 

I remember when I first got into online marketing, I purchased a list of every member of the Clickfunnels group. At the time it was like 170k people, I really didn’t know any better and decided it would be a great idea to blast an email invite to them all! 

Talk about some nasty emails that came back to me! Looking back it was a stupid spammy way to get a hold of people. So does that mean I do not believe in cold email? NO. Where I went wrong is purchasing HARVESTED personal emails. 

Cold emailing a publicly accessible email is no problem if you follow the CAN-SPAM rules. 

But scraping personal emails and spamming is not only going to hurt your ability to deliver emails without hitting a spam box. But it will kill your brand and make you look desperate. To learn more about our data scraping system watch the video below.



Ross Christifulli

CEO of Lead Carrot

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