Update: A judge for the U.S. District Court of Northern California granted hiQ a preliminary injunction Monday, meaning LinkedIn must allow the recruitment startup's software to access LinkedIn users' public profile information for the time being, The Register reports. This is not a complete legal victory for hiQ, however, as the case against LinkedIn is still being heard.
- HiQ, a startup that builds recruitment and human resources software, is preemptively suing LinkedIn to ensure it can still access user profiles in the future, says Quartz.
- The company scours data from publicly available LinkedIn profiles, looking for updated information; the data reportedly predicts whether workers will leave their employers.
- LinkedIn sent the startup a cease-and-desist letter asserting that the data is proprietary information and that hiQ is violating hacking laws and their users' trust. HiQ struck back with a lawsuit to make sure LinkedIn keeps the data public, according to Quartz.
Quartz says that small firms are starting to use big companies' data to do business. With big-data companies like Microsoft, Google, Randstad Holdings and Yahoo entering into the recruiting arena, others could certainly use that to their advantage.
The proliferation of data brings up interesting questions about privacy, efficiency and whether employers should gather key information about employees outside the normal reach of the organization. A profile update doesn't necessarily mean that an employee is about quit, for example. And employees might not be pleased about their current employers suspecting that they're leaving.
The case could also answer questions about sources of employee data and who is allowed to access it or sell it. Expect to see more issues like this crop up as data use continues to expand in all sorts of different ways.