In past presentations, I’ve discussed sourcing methods including robots, spiders and URL manipulation, suggesting there are sometimes high risks for recruiters that use these methods. The Courts interpret the CFAA on a case-by-case basis to determine when “accessing a protected computer” is considered “hacking.” The problem is, many lawyers and computer experts say the CFAA is outdated and over-broad in scope. In some cases, prosecutors go after minor uses of the Internet, like downloading lists or sharing information by email.
There is an important case pending in the US Court of Appeals (Third Circuit) regarding the use of automation to manipulate URLs and scrape email addresses that Sourcers need to pay attention to. The highly controversial ruling tells us that under the CFAA, just because a website is publicly accessible and does not require a password, it does not always mean you have permission to access it and use or collect the information you find.