hiQ v. LinkedIn: Keep the Public Internet Public

by hiQ Labs

hiQ v. LinkedIn: Keep the Public Internet Public

by hiQ Labs
hiQ Labs
hiQ is a 2016 HR Tech award-winning data science company. Our science is informed by public data sources and applied to human capital decisions.
on 24th November 2017
pledged by 95 people
hiQ Labs
hiQ is a 2016 HR Tech award-winning data science company. Our science is informed by public data sources and applied to human capital decisions.

hiQ Labs v. LinkedIn

hiQ is a small startup in a big legal battle with professional-networking giant LinkedIn. Your donations will help shape the Internet and help ensure publicly accessible information online remains just that — accessible, discoverable and usable.

hiQ won an initial court ruling, but the fight continues with LinkedIn’s appeal of the decision. We beat Goliath once; help us beat him again!

Our story:

hiQ is a 4-year-old data analytics company that focuses its science on human resources. LinkedIn recently announced services that are similar to those offered by hiQ, yet LinkedIn wants to prevent competition by blocking access to the data its own members designated as public.

In May 2017, LinkedIn sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding that hiQ stop accessing LinkedIn profiles that members designated as public. A public profile is a member’s profile that is indexed on search engines like Bing or Google. You don’t need a password or to log in to LinkedIn to view this truly public information.

LinkedIn forced hiQ to turn to the courts to ensure that public information on the Internet remains public. And we won. In August, a federal judge in San Francisco agreed with us, issuing a preliminary injunction that keeps the data public, for now. But Microsoft-owned LinkedIn has appealed that ruling.

This David vs. Goliath fight will shape the future of the Internet. LinkedIn's position would literally make it a crime for you to access information that people were promised would be public.

Help hiQ continue to beat LinkedIn and Microsoft and advance the cause of keeping public data public.

Why we started hiQ and the value we provide:

What is at stake:

  • Your LinkedIn public profile. LinkedIn claims to protect your data that they don’t pay you for. In fact, LinkedIn monetizes your public and private information in many ways.
  • Your control of data. This case will set a standard for the entire Internet well beyond hiQ v. LinkedIn. You were promised your profile would remain public for the world to see, if you made that choice. 
  • Your right to fair competition. LinkedIn shouldn't be allowed to decide that giant search engines like Bing and Google can index public profiles, while forbidding others to access the very same information. Furthermore, LinkedIn uses member information to inform their products, while denying competitors the right to do so.

The merits of the case:

  • LinkedIn is invoking the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which was enacted in 1986 before the Internet, as we know it today, even existed. LinkedIn seeks to make accessing public information on the Internet a criminal offense simply because a website owner says you cannot. 
  • It’s all about the money. During the preliminary injunction, LinkedIn made a hypocritical argument that it is protecting members' privacy, yet its products enable buyers to: 1) track all member profile updates, and 2) view member's private profile data. (LinkedIn wrongly accuses hiQ of selling member updates back to their employers. We don't do this.)
  • Anti-competitive business practices. LinkedIn stifles innovation and competition by blocking access to public data. LinkedIn claims to “protect” your data by deciding who has access to your public profile. 

The appeal and how you can help:

  • hiQ is preparing its response to LinkedIn's appeal of the ruling on the preliminary injunction. hiQ is hopeful that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the arguments in early 2018 and decide soon after.
  • Battling a Goliath with unlimited resources is expensive. The appeals process will cost hiQ approximately $700,000. 
  • We need your help to raise $100,000 to help us pay a modest portion of our legal expenses to keep the public internet public.

Please donate now. Click an orange button to support hiQ in this David vs. Goliath battle.

Thank you for your support!

-  From the hiQ family

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