Thanks for the thorough legal explanation and analysis. I didn’t mean that what I wrote was specifically tied to the case, but that it surfaced some of these larger questions about scraping. I spent a lot of time on this earlier in my career as we were launching Facebook Platform and a lot of data was only shared privately and not publicly and this was still an ongoing conversation. Giving users tools to choose to make this information available more publicly definitely blurs this — and does get advantages from search engines and other public display that is valuable for the users and for the company.
I still don’t believe that should mean that any site can scrape any other and index that information. I think a host site should have the right and responsibility to control that. I disagree with the ruling.
I do think this begs some big and important questions about the web — especially as we are moving into more and more closed and walled systems, on the web and on mobile.
Fwiw having worked at these companies — I do believe their reasons for wanting to protect user data are not purely self serving and just for their own business purposes. I am sure that is a part of it, but they also take responsibility for the long term relationship they have with users and what users expect. They designed their product for specific use cases and want to prevent other malicious or unintended uses too. They have to for their long term success — but it isn’t just about their business interests, it is about user trust.
It is fine to disagree and debate. I enjoy that. I don’t appreciate the comment at the end about “your pals at LinkedIn”. I am not affiliated with the company nor Microsoft (though I was a LinkedIn employee over a decade ago), and in this debate was simply representing my own thoughts having worked on similar issues in my career. Once you make a snide comment it begs the question of what bias you may be bringing or arguing from.