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Big Data, Web 'Scraping' and Competition Law

The Debate Continues

Web "scraping" is one method of accumulating data that has sparked recent legal debate, both antitrust and otherwise. Legal challenges to Web scraping have involved privacy claims and claims under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, in addition to antitrust claims about the need to collect public data to be able to compete freely.

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We live in a world — and deal with markets — increasingly driven by data. Consumers and companies throughout the globe generate massive amounts of data at any given moment. Internet searches, mobile phone clicks, website profile information, e-commerce transactions and basically any other action that can be quantified digitally make up the basis of “Big Data.” This data can in turn be analyzed and studied to inform competitive decision-making and increase the accuracy of market predictions.

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