LinkedIn has filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping competitors from using bots to collect information from hundreds of thousands of user profiles. The company wants the group of "John Does" to stop the activity and make them pay for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Site representatives claim a group of unknown people are using bots to create thousands of fake user profiles that are then used to interact with real LinkedIn users. Once a connection has been made, the bots siphon off as much data about each member as possible.
The mined data is then being used by competitors as a recruiting product according to the complaint filed in San Francisco this week. LinkedIn said they've had to expend a great deal of energy and manpower to combat the fake profiles. What's more, the bots are putting the company's integrity and reputation on the line.
As Gigaom points out, it's unclear really if LinkedIn has a solid leg to stand on since it isn't exactly illegal to copy information from a website. In addition to the aforementioned laws, the company also says the unknown users are violating their own terms of service.
To get to the bottom of who is scraping their servers, LinkedIn said they will issue discovery orders to Amazon Web Services. It's this service that the defendants are using to create and store data related to the fake user accounts, the company said.