LinkedIn lawsuit: LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) is being sued by customers who claim the professional networking giant hacked their email accounts for marketing purposes. According to the plaintiff, LinkedIn utilized members’ external email accounts to access their contacts’ addresses and promote the website to non-members. The lawsuit was filed in San Jose, California, and pretends to stop the firm from further data privacy violations, requiring that any revenue generated from the illicit actions be returned.
Doug Madey, a spokesman for LinkedIn, told Bloomberg that the lawsuit is without merit and the company will fight it. In an email, he stated, “LinkedIn is committed to putting our members first, which includes being transparent about how we protect and utilize our members’ data”. Blake Lawit, the company’s senior director of litigation, wrote on the company’s blog, that there is no wrong-doing in the treatment of customers’ information. Furthermore, he wrote, “We never send messages or invitations to join LinkedIn on your behalf to anyone unless you have given us permission to do so”.
External e-mail addresses are utilized by LinkedIn as usernames for the website. According to the complaint filed on September 17th, the information was allegedly used to access these accounts when they were left open and send out invitations on behalf of the user. Customers blame LinkedIn’s strategy for the way their private information is used. The plaintiffs quoted a regulatory filing, which states that the firm will “pursue initiatives that promote the viral growth of our member base”.
The complaint suggests that sending out endorsement emails for its products and services is part of LinkedIn’s growth initiative. Despite the strict policies and security measures against external threats placed by networking firms such as LinkedIn, there is an important lack of transparency surrounding the company’s own use of the data. Resolving this issue is paramount for the firm that has been acquitted in March 2013 from a class action lawsuit. Also, the company had been sued in June 2012 for the password breach of 6.5 million users. Check back here for more updates on the LinkedIn lawsuit situation.
Disclosure: Pablo Erbar holds no position in any stocks mentioned