Can Niantic Stop Scrapers

September 09, 2019 Manet

In a ruling against LinkedIn; an appeals court has found that scraping a website doesn’t violate US anti-hacking laws. Additionally, the appeals court upheld the lower court order that prevents LinkedIn from using technical measures to block the scraping.

Some legal experts think that the ruling could impact options that Niantic could use to restrict collection of data from its servers. Like Niantic, LinkedIn’s terms-of-service prohibits scraping. The court ruled that data that isn’t protected by a password requirement isn’t actually protected by the terms-of-service. However, LinkedIn provides their own authentication. There’s an argument that Niantic’s reliance on public authentication services provided by Facebook and Google might not be strong enough to support a claim that their data is intended to remain private. One of the legal experts we consulted stated that, “data behind auth is functionally meaningless if anyone on the internet can access it.”

These legal arguments might be the reason that Niantic has ignored Outgress, Ingress Tracker and other scrapers for years.