LinkedIn facing privacy rights lawsuit

LinkedIn (LNKD) is facing a lawsuit which claims it violated customers’ privacy rights for marketing purposes. The company is accused of accessing users' external e-mail accounts and downloading contacts’ addresses though the users e-mail address provided when signing up to the site.

LinkedIn customers can now pursue damages for revenue it made from using the e-mail address books.

The lawsuit calls into question how wiretap laws enacted before the Internet apply to data generated when people send e-mails and surf online.

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Comments (3)
  • PeterScriabin
    , contributor
    Comments (361) | Send Message
    I would be grateful for perspective from someone, more technical than I, on how EXACTLY LinkedIn accomplishes this.


    As many as 10 years ago, when I had a MS Outlook client running on my PC, LinkedIn was apparently able - hacker-like - to access its address book over a modem or cable-internet connection, and mine the addresses.


    Even today, I received the 2nd reminder from someone I don't even know (via LinkedIn) to join up - so I know they are still doing this.


    I do get that (according to LinkedIn, anyway) those, who sign up, tacitly agree to this ransacking of their email-client or cloud-email address books. My question is not about the right or wrong, but the HOW. How do they get INTO the address-book? What legitimate reason could there be for the software manager of the address-books (eg. MS, Google, Yahoo, etc.) even to provide such a hideous API?
    13 Jun 2014, 12:44 PM Reply Like
  • Carocc
    , contributor
    Comments (27) | Send Message
    There is a lawsuit, but the lawsuit is based on a member not paying attention when they are prompted to open their email address book for the purpose of sending out invitations. LinkedIn has absolutely no way of accessing a member's email address book unless the member explicitly gives LinkedIn access. LinkedIn opens a member's email address book with *all* of the entries selected. The instructions for the member are to "select" those entries you want to receive an invitation, but far too many LinkedIn members think they must click an entry to select it to receive an invitation. In fact, when a member clicks an entry they are "unselecting" it. The net effect is every entry in the email address book except those the member wanted to receive an invitation actually get an invitation. For example, if a member has 500 entries in their email address book and they want to send an invitation to fifty (50) entries, they would have to "unselect" 450 entries to ensure only the fifty (50) receive an invitation. A member may not recognize all of the names on the invitations because the "default" setting for most email clients is to "save" the email address for *all* inbound messages regardless of whether or not the user "replies" or moves the message to the "junk" folder.


    So, a member really doesn't have a claim for damages simply because they failed to read and understand the instructions prior to clicking to allow LinkedIn to send out invitations.
    13 Jun 2014, 02:24 PM Reply Like
    , contributor
    Comments (103) | Send Message
    A very good reason to just stay away from ALL social media sites, especially
    14 Jun 2014, 10:05 PM Reply Like
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