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LinkedIn sued over claims they hacked customer's email accounts

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 21 Sep 2013 21:56 User comments (4)

LinkedIn sued over claims they hacked customer's email accounts LinkedIn, the world's most popular professional-networking site, has been sued this week by customers who are accusing the site of "appropriating their identities for marketing purposes by hacking into their external e-mail accounts and downloading contacts' addresses."
The customers hope to make the suit into a group class action, and have asked a federal judge to ban the company from repeating the same alleged violations. Additionally, they are demanding that LinkedIn return "any revenue stemming from its use of their identities to promote the site to non-members" and they are seeking additional damages.

As part of their complaint, the customers cite that even "LinkedIn's own website contains hundreds of complaints regarding this practice." LinkedIn has over 230 million users and has seen rapid growth in recent years.

"LinkedIn is committed to putting our members first, which includes being transparent about how we protect and utilize our members' data," says LinkedIn, which has vowed to fight the 'meritless' suit.

The complaint says that LinkedIn required all members to provide an email address as their username on the site, and then used that information to access those email accounts, in an effort to steal contacts. "LinkedIn pretends to be that user and downloads the e-mail addresses contained anywhere in that account to LinkedIn's servers," they added. "LinkedIn is able to download these addresses without requesting the password for the external e-mail accounts or obtaining users' consent."

Blake Lawit, the company's senior director of litigation, says the allegations are not true. "We never send messages or invitations to join LinkedIn on your behalf to anyone unless you have given us permission to do so," Lawit says.

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4 user comments

122.9.2013 5:02

They harvested the add book of a Federal Judge, a friend. First I got an offer to join under her name, and then came the green tea adverts, with her as the "sender". I did not join and have them blocked as unsafe.

222.9.2013 10:24

This explains the strange LinkedIn adverts in my email from people I worked on a project only once in college who just happened to be in my contacts list who I have never spoken too since. I always wondered about that

322.9.2013 12:53

got a LinkedIn message to be added to 1 of their member's contacts, i never did even when i think i knew who the individual was.

422.9.2013 15:10

Unfortunately, the damage is done. LinkedIn will profit handsomely from the data mining, while if the class action succeeds, each person will be cut a check for 15 bucks. Welcome to Amurricah ! In other words, companies don't give two flying fucks about your right to privacy, and their EULAs about anything to that effect are merely empty words. They know exactly what they're doing. They will gladly settle a class action for 50 million, when the data they obtained will be worth many, many times that to them. Unfortunately, technology is one of those Pandora's box things.


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