2

There are many websites today which scrape and aggregate data. Are these laws protecting US citizens and/or New York state residents which ensure that, upon request, the information must be removed?

Fictitious scenario: Whoami.tld posts addresses, phone numbers, family members, etc-etc.

Am I entitled to have said company remove that information, for my safely and privacy?

2

There are many websites today which scrape and aggregate data. Are these laws protecting US citizens and/or New York state residents which ensure that, upon request, the information must be removed?

No.

Fictitious scenario: Whoami.tld posts addresses, phone numbers, family members, etc-etc.

Am I entitled to have said company remove that information, for my safely and privacy?

No.

While decided under California law, a recent ruling of the California Supreme Court determining that Yelp does not have to remove a user post found to be defamatory illustrates some of the relevant legal principles. As the introduction to that case explained:

In this case, we consider the validity of a court order, entered upon a default judgment in a defamation case, insofar as it directs appellant Yelp Inc. (Yelp) to remove certain consumer reviews posted on its website. Yelp was not named as a defendant in the underlying lawsuit, brought by plaintiffs Dawn Hassell and the Hassell Law Group, and did not participate in the judicial proceedings that led to the default judgment. Instead, Yelp became involved in this litigation only after being served with a copy of the aforementioned judgment and order.

Yelp argues that, to the extent the removal order would impose upon it a duty to remove these reviews, the directive violates its right to due process under the federal and state Constitutions because it was issued without proper notice and an opportunity to be heard. Yelp also asserts that this aspect of the order is invalid under the Communications Decency Act of 1996, relevant provisions of which (found at 47 U.S.C. § 230, hereinafter referred to as section 230) relate, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” (§ 230(c)(1)), and “No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section” (§ 230(e)(3)).

The Court of Appeal rejected Yelp’s arguments. We reverse. The Court of Appeal erred in regarding the order to Yelp as beyond the scope of section 230. That court reasoned that the judicial command to purge the challenged reviews does not impose liability on Yelp. But as explained below, the Court of Appeal adopted too narrow a construction of section 230. In directing Yelp to remove the challenged reviews from its website, the removal order improperly treats Yelp as “the publisher or speaker of . . . information provided by another information content provider.” (§ 230(c)(1).) The order therefore must be revised to comply with section 230.

While Section 230 would not apply in a data scraping case, the due process considerations would apply, as would First Amendment considerations that don't have to be considered when Section 230 addresses those concerns.

Some of the First Amendment considerations are touched on in the answers to this question.

New York specific analysis of a similar question can be found here.

A different analysis might apply if the person publishing the data obtained it by illegal means, but this wouldn't carry over to people who obtained the data legally from them in most cases.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.