According to an article on Fortune.com, a U.S. federal judge has ruled that LinkedIn cannot prevent access of public profile data, in a test of how much control a social media site can wield over information its users have deemed to be public.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco granted a preliminary injunction request brought by hiQ Labs, and ordered LinkedIn to remove within 24 hours any technology preventing hiQ from accessing public profiles.
"To the extent LinkedIn has already put in place technology to prevent hiQ from accessing these public profiles, it is ordered to remove any such barriers," Chen's order reads.
LinkedIn plans to challenge the decision, a company spokeswoman said.
“We’re disappointed in the court’s ruling,” the spokeswoman said. “This case is not over. We will continue to fight to protect our members’ ability to control the information they make available on LinkedIn.”
The dispute between the two tech companies has been going on since May, when LinkedIn issued a letter to hiQ Labs instructing the startup to stop scraping data from its service.
The San Francisco startup, HiQ, claims it has a First Amendment right to gather information from LinkedIn's members who opt to make their profiles public.