Last week, LinkedIn agreed to pay $13 million and change some of the site’s features to settle a class action lawsuit filed against it in 2013 alleging that it used the Add Connections feature to access users’ email contacts to send invitations to users’ contacts without their consent.
The allegations of the suit include that LinkedIn accessed and collected email addresses from users’ contacts, then sent out emails that looked like they were from the user to the contacts who were not LinkedIn users to persuade them to sign up to LinkedIn. LinkedIn argued that permission was granted by users when the user signed up for LinkedIn.
In addition to the monetary settlement, LinkedIn has also agreed to enhance the user permission process for the use of contact information, including a new screen that states that LinkedIn will “import your address book” if a user elects to use the service which will “upload detailed information about your contacts to our LinkedIn servers.”
I was on Seattle speaking at a cybersecurity conference and I offered to find a restaurant for dinner for my co-panelists. I accessed a popular app on my smartphone to find the hot spots in Seattle. A screen came up that said “oops! Your location services are not on, so go to settings and turn them on to use this app” or something like that. Of course, I never have my location based services on to protect my privacy. I did not want the app to have my exact location for that purpose, so I chose to go to another site that did not require that I tell them exactly where I was at that exact time. I found a great restaurant and we ate well. The point is I had the choice of sharing my data and location and I made it. Be aware of your choice when using apps and use it.