May 23, 2022

Volume XII, Number 143

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May 20, 2022

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Breaking News: Meta Sues Hong Kong Based Social Data Trading Ltd. For Its Data Scraping Practices

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has sued Hong Kong-based Social Data Trading Ltd. for scraping data from millions of Instagram and Facebook profiles.  Meta alleges that after it blocked Instagram and Facebook access to Social Data Trading, the company continued to surreptitiously pull profile information from both websites.   Meta alleges that Social Data Trading violated the terms of service for both Instagram and Facebook and that, because of circumventing Meta’s block Social Data Trading’s use of those websites, defendant also engaged in illegal hacking under Section 502 of California’s Penal Code.  Finally, Meta seeks recovery for unjust enrichment, in addition to its claims for breach of contract and hacking under Section 502.

The complaint does not contain any claims under 18 U.S.C. § 1030, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”).  This is an issue we are watching closely as, generally speaking, CFAA no longer supports claims for data scraping that merely violate a website’s terms of service.  Presently before the Ninth Circuit, on remand from the Supreme Court, is the question of whether, once a website revokes permission and takes technical steps to block access, a subsequent act of scraping a public website constitutes a violation of CFAA.   LinkedIn Corp. v. hiQ Labs, Inc., No. 19-1116, 141 S. Ct. 2752, 210 L. Ed. 2d 902, 2021 U.S. LEXIS 2997, 2021 WL 2405144, at *1 (U.S. June 14, 2021).  The Ninth Circuit heard oral argument on this case in October.  We anticipate a ruling soon.  As always, watch this space for an update.

© Copyright 2022 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 357
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About this Author

 Rafael Langer-Osuna Commercial Litigation Attorney Squire Patton Boggs San Francisco, CA & Miami, FL
Partner

Rafael Langer-Osuna is a commercial litigator who tries cases. Rafael has significant experience litigating matters that turn on international relations and involve the foreign relations law of the US. How the law handles information – whether data privacy, the attorney-client privilege, online defamation or intellectual property – fascinates Rafael. Rafael often uses Spanish and a broad understanding of various legal cultures in representing foreign governments and multinational corporations in international disputes in US courts. These disputes often call upon Rafael to help coordinate...

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