Best Practices for Private Fund Advisers to Manage the Risks of Big Data and Web Scraping

On April 13, 2017, craigslist obtained a judgment against RadPad, a third party that collected data through automated means from its site. The $60.5 million judgment was based on various claims relating to RadPad’s use of sophisticated techniques to evade detection and harvest content from craigslist’s site, as well as distribution of unsolicited commercial emails to craigslist users to market RadPad’s own apartment rental listing service. While it is doubtful that craigslist will ever collect this sizeable judgment, the case highlights some of the issues faced by persons, such as hedge fund managers, who collect – or engage others to collect – data through automated means for commercial purposes. In a guest article, Proskauer partners Robert G. Leonard, Jeffrey D. Neuburger and Joshua M. Newville provide an overview of big data and web scraping, outline potential sources of liability to hedge fund managers that collect big data and describe best practices for navigating several areas of potential liability. For additional insight from Newville and other Proskauer partners, see “Ten Key Risks Facing Private Fund Managers in 2017” (Apr. 6, 2017). For further commentary from Leonard, see our two-part series on The SEC’s Recent Revisions to Form ADV and the Recordkeeping Rule: “Managed Account Disclosure, Umbrella Registration and Outsourced CCOs” (Nov. 3, 2016); and “Retaining Performance Records and Disclosing Social Media Use, Office Locations and Assets Under Management” (Nov. 17, 2016).

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