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Opinion
Noah Feldman

This Court Case Is Bad News for Social Media Privacy

A professor who violates a website's terms of service to collect data has a First Amendment right to do so, a judge says.
It's a Wild West out there.

It's a Wild West out there.

Photographer: Adam Berry/Getty Images

A professor violates the terms of service to go onto a platform or a website. Once there, he unleashes bots that crawl all over and scrape the data viewable there.

You might think this is a nightmare privacy scenario akin to the one in which the researcher Aleksandr Kogan scraped Facebook Inc. data that he later sold to Cambridge Analytica. And you might think the professor’s actions should be prosecuted.