- Flight and travel data has always been valuable for data aggregators and online travel services and has prompted litigation over the years.
- Latest suit from Air Canada against a rewards travel search site raises some interesting liability issues under the CFAA.
- The implications of this case, if the plaintiffs are successful, could impact the legal analysis of web scraping in a variety of circumstances, including for the training of generative AI models.
In a recent post, we recounted the myriad of issues raised by recently-filed data scraping suits involving job listings, company reviews and employment data. Soon after, another interesting scraping suit was filed, this time by a major airline against an award travel search site that aggregates fare and award travel data. Air Canada alleges that Defendant Localhost LLC (“Localhost” or “Defendant”), operator of the Seats.aero website, unlawfully bypassed technical measures and violated Air Canada’s website terms when it scraped “vast amounts” of flight data without permission and purportedly caused slowdowns to Air Canada’s site and other problems. (Air Canada v. Localhost LLC, No. 23-01177 (D. Del. Filed Oct. 19, 2023)).
The complaint alleges that Localhost harvested data from Air Canada’s site and systems to populate the seats.aero site, which claims to be “the fastest search engine for award travel.”
It also alleged that in addition to scraping the Air Canada website, Localhost engaged in “API scraping” by impersonating authorized requests to Air Canada’s application programming interface.