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公开数据属于谁?
Tech’s fight for the upper hand on open data

来源:FT中文网    2017-10-12 05:58



        One thing that’s becoming very clear to me as I report on the digital economy is that a rethink of the legal framework in which business has been conducted for many decades is going to be required. Many of the key laws that govern digital commerce (which, increasingly, is most commerce) were crafted in the 1980s or 1990s, when the internet was an entirely different place.        在我报道数字经济的时候,一件变得非常明显的事情是,人们将需要重新思考几十年来商业适用的法律框架。其中许多治理数字商务(如今的商务日益成为数字商务)的关键法律是在上世纪80年代或者90年代起草的,当时的互联网完全不是现在这个样子。
        Consider, for example, the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This 1986 law made it a federal crime to engage in “unauthorised access” to a computer connected to the internet. It was designed to prevent hackers from breaking into government or corporate systems. The mythology is that the law was inspired by War Games, the 1983 movie starring Matthew Broderick.        例如,想想《计算机欺诈和滥用法案》(Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ,简称CFAA)。这部于1986年生效的法律规定联邦内“未被授权地访问”一台连接互联网的电脑是犯罪行为。它的目的是阻止黑客侵入政府或者企业系统。但吊诡的是,这部法律的灵感源于1983年由马修•布罗德里克(Matthew Broderick)主演的电影《战争游戏》(War Games)。
        While few hackers seem to have been deterred by it, the law is being used in turf battles between companies looking to monetise the most valuable commodity on the planet — your personal data. Case in point: LinkedIn vs HiQ, which may well become a groundbreaker in Silicon Valley. LinkedIn is the dominant professional networking platform, a Facebook for corporate types. HiQ is a “data-scraping” company, one that accesses publicly available data from LinkedIn profiles and then mixes it up in its own quantitative black box to create two products — Keeper, which tells employers which of their employees are at greatest risk of being recruited away, and Skill Mapper, which provides a summary of the skills possessed by individual workers.        似乎很少有黑客因此收手,如今该法被用于寻求货币化这个星球上最有价值商品(即你们的个人数据)的公司间的地盘争夺。领英(LinkedIn)与HiQ的纠纷就是很好的例子,它很可能开创硅谷的先例。领英是占据主导地位的专业人脉平台,是企业版的Facebook。HiQ是一个“数据检索”公司,它抓取领英公开的个人简介数据,随后放进自己的量化黑匣子创造出两个产品,一个是Keeper,告诉雇主哪些员工最有可能跳槽,另一个是Skill Mapper,总结个体员工拥有的技能。
        LinkedIn allowed HiQ to do this for five years, before developing a very similar product to Skill Mapper, at which point LinkedIn sent the company a “cease and desist” letter, and threatened to invoke the CFAA if HiQ did not stop tapping its user data. LinkedIn’s lawyers argued not only that this was a violation of users’ trust, but that its client was a “private entity with a right to control access to its private property” — meaning not only its servers, but the consumer data on them, too.        领英允许HiQ这么干了5年,随后开发了一个与Skill Mapper非常类似的产品,并向HiQ发出了“勒令停止侵权函”,威胁如果HiQ不停止收集其用户数据的话,就会起诉其违反了CFAA。领英的律师不仅辩称这辜负了用户信任,而且还说其客户是“有权控制访问其私有财产的私人实体”——这不仅指的是它的服务器,而且还有服务器上的消费者数据。
        None of this is uncommon in the Valley. Data scraping companies, which can seem a bit creepy, are rife — as are big companies that watch little firms experiment with new ideas, and then try to steal and/or crush them once they reach critical mass (either with a cease and desist letter, or by acquisition).        这种情况在硅谷并不罕见。行事似乎有点隐秘的数据收集公司到处都是,那些大公司都是这样,它们先是关注小公司试行新想法,一旦后者达到临界规模,就试图窃取并且/或者摧毁它们——要么发出“勒令停止侵权函”,要么收购它们。
        I have been inundated recently with calls from small tech firms complaining about anti-competitive practices on the part of the larger platform companies. Most will not go public for fear of never getting another round of funding or a job (Silicon Valley has quite the omerta code, as I’m discovering). But HiQ figured it had nothing to lose, because if it could not get LinkedIn data it would be out of business. The US District Court in Northern California, which is hearing the case, agreed, and gave it an injunction to continue scraping while the legal battle moves forward (LinkedIn filed its opening brief last week).        我最近接到许多小科技公司的电话,抱怨较大型平台公司旗下机构的反垄断活动。大多数公司不会公诸于众,因为它们担心因此无法获得又一轮的融资或者工作(就像我发现的那样,硅谷有沉默法则)。但HiQ认为自己没啥损失的,因为如果它无法获得领英数据就会破产。美国加州北部地区法院对此表示同意,并允许其继续收集数据,同时法律诉讼仍在进行之中(领英近日提起上诉)。
        Meanwhile, a case that might have been significant mainly to digital insiders is being given a huge publicity boost by Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, the country’s pre-eminent constitutional law scholar. He has joined the HiQ defence team because, as he told me, he believes the case is “tremendously important”, not only in terms of setting competitive rules for the digital economy, but in the realm of free speech. According to Prof Tribe, if you accept that the internet is the new town square, and “data is a central type of capital”, then it must be freely available to everyone — and LinkedIn, as a private company, cannot suddenly decide that publicly accessible, Google-searchable data is their private property.        与此同时,哈佛大学(Harvard)教授、美国杰出的宪法学者劳伦斯•特赖布(Laurence Tribe)让该案的知名度大幅上升——该案主要对数字行业内部人士意义重大。他加入了HiQ的辩护团队,因为他告诉我,他认为该案具有“极其重要的意义”,这不仅体现在它可能为数字经济设定竞争规则,而且还在于言论自由领域。据特赖布表示,如果你认可互联网是新的城市广场,同时“数据是中央型资本”,那么就必须让所有人都可以免费获得,而领英作为一家私人公司,不能突然决定可以公开获得的、谷歌(Google)搜索来的数据是它们的私有财产。
        People may not like what HiQ is doing, but just as sex offenders have a right to use the internet, so data scrapers have a right to make their living in the public space, at least for the moment. The worry is that if private companies are granted the authority to decide who gets to participate in the digital marketplace of ideas, then they could shun whoever they like, however they like.        人们可能不喜欢HiQ做的事情,但正如强奸犯有权使用互联网一样,数据收集者也有权在公共空间谋生,至少目前可以。担忧在于,如果私人公司被授权决定谁可以参与数字意见市场,那么它们就可能回避它们喜欢的人,无论它们有多么喜欢。
        For its part, LinkedIn argues that its position is the speech-maximising one. It believes that if users knew their data were freely available to unrestricted collection and access by third parties, they would be less likely to put it online. This is a good point, and perhaps one that consumers and users of the internet in general should think more carefully about.        领英这边辩称,其立场是为了最大化地保证言论自由。它相信,如果用户知道他们的数据能够被第三方不受限制地收集和获取,他们就不太可能发布在网上。这是一个很好的理由,或许消费者和互联网用户应该更认真思考这一理由。
        Whether your concern is anti-competitive business practices, or the preservation of free speech, one thing that we have to grapple with is that we are both the raw material and the end consumer of what is being sold online. We are the product.        无论你担忧的是反垄断商业活动,还是维护言论自由,我们不得不应对的一件事情是,我们既是网上售卖的原材料,又是终极消费者。我们是产品。
        Given that, we might want to think much more carefully about three things. First, the extent of information that we reveal and all the myriad ways in which it can be used. Second, whether the products and services we receive in exchange for our data are worth it, or whether the terms of the exchange should be reconsidered. And third, how governments may shift the rules of the new digital playing field, and what it will mean for capitalism in the 21st century.        鉴于此,我们可能希望更认真地考虑三件事。第一,我们披露的信息的程度以及它可能被使用的诸多方式。第二,我们用自己数据交换来的产品和服务是物有所值,还是应该重新考虑交换条件。第三,政府如何调整新的数字领域的规则,以及这将对21世纪的资本主义意味着什么。
                
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