18 Aug'17

Disputes and queries over LinkedIn’s users’ data

Digital Journal report on LinkedIn’s recent lawsuit against the start-up company HiQ Lab to court.


HiQ Lab is a start-up company that offers services to improve ‘HR through data science’. One of their services provides clients notification for when their employees have shown indication for leaving the company, using LinkedIn data.


However, LinkedIn claimed that they need to protect their users’ personal data.


The court ruled in favour of HiQ Lab. Judge Chen said, ‘LinkedIn’s views around scraping and data access “could profoundly impact open access to the Internet.”’ The judge also put forth that LinkedIn’s pursuit of a lawsuit could be interpreted as an attempt to stop competition.

With GDPR designed to ensure the ownership of data is placed back with the individual one is curious as to how this case may have played out in a European court?  See our recent article on GDPR, detailing some of the changes to the new legislation concerning companies’ use of personal data in Europe, and the myths around it.


HiQ Labs’s use of LinkedIn data was not considered illegal in the US as they only use profiles that are marked public, and chosen by their clients.


But LinkedIn profiles marked public does not necessarily mean individuals want their data to be used by third parties. Therefore, this article demonstrates that it is users’ responsibility to change their profile to private if they do not want their personal information to be used in such a way HiQ Lab does. More than anything this raises some major questions about the gulf between US and European standards on data governance.



Feature image credit: ‘linkedin logo’ by Esther Vargas from LinkedIn. Licensed CC BY-SA 2.0