Business

LinkedIn faces lawsuit for emailing user contacts without permission

Image Credit: Ben Scholzen/Flickr

A U.S. federal judge is ordering LinkedIn to face a lawsuit from users claiming the network sent emails without their consent.

District judge Lucy Koh found that LinkedIn violated users’ privacy by accessing their email accounts, downloading their contacts’ email addresses, and soliciting business from them. While users did agree to the company sending an initial email to attempt to recruit from their contacts, they did not agree to LinkedIn sending further “reminder” emails.

These extra emails “could injure users’ reputations by allowing contacts to think that the users are the types of people who spam their contacts or are unable to take the hint that their contacts do not want to join their LinkedIn network,” she wrote in her decision. “In fact, by stating a mere three screens before the disclosure regarding the first invitation that ‘We will not … email anyone without your permission,’ LinkedIn may have actively led users astray.”

She added that users can pursue claims that LinkedIn violated their right of publicity, which means that companies can’t use their name and likeness for commercial purposes, and also violated a California unfair competition law.

Koh did, however, dismiss the claims that LinkedIn violated a federal wiretapping law, among others. The users may file an amended lawsuit to reflect that.

LinkedIn is pleased that some of the charges were dismissed and will “continue to contest the remaining claims, as we believe they have no merit,” according to a statement from the company to The Guardian.

LinkedIn revealed in April that it has crossed the 300 million user mark and is hoping to get the 3 billion remaining in the global workforce not yet in its network.

Last October, the company sent a lot of people into panic over its new Intro app, which grabs data from users’ email to create profiles of the people they communicate with. It came under fire from security experts and consumers because of its perceived intrusiveness and possible breach of privacy. LinkedIn later shut down the app.

 

 

More information:

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet, with more than 259 million members worldwide, including executives from Fortune 500 companies. Founded on May 5, 2003, by Reid Hoffman and founding team members f... read more »

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21 comments
Kim Grissom
Kim Grissom

I wondered why I've been getting so much random spammage lately....

Erika Wasmund
Erika Wasmund

Finally this awful site is getting some backlash!

Josh Aronoff
Josh Aronoff

Yeah!! This happened to me too and I got a bunch of connection via LinkedIn but I never wanted them really.

David Brier
David Brier

I hate linkedin. Amazing they have no competitor.

Scott R. Conley
Scott R. Conley

Totally agree with you. But they are lucky they have can-spam laws now, and are just faced with some dumb lawsuit as people have went to prison for spamming over ridiculous laws that were in place in the past, now they have some can spam act where a company or person can legally spam but must provide their contact information at the bottom of the email and clearly state that the email is an advertisement. Although I really feel bad for the people that went to prison over something as petty as that years ago, not Linkedin being sued...

Kay Xspre
Kay Xspre

I received at least 2 mails from professional circle in LinkedIn, and I do not want to receive it. They did not allow you to unsubscribe from the site in its entirely; you only able to unsubscribe from reminder only from the one joining and inviting. This is not to mention the fact they ruined Pulse. I used Pulse before the takeover, and some time afterwards. I then notice Pulse on the phone does not sync to its website anymore, instead it aggressively trying to have user joined LinkedIn for promised syncing. Shame to them.

Dave Roberts
Dave Roberts

Really...like someone suffered material harm over this? What a bunch of whiners...to include the judge!

Johnny Parker
Johnny Parker

Linkedin is worse all the social networks when it comes to privacy. They keep using IP addresses to suggest friends (Check in to Linkedin at a cafe and everyone there who's signed in there will be suggested to you). As if that is not enough, they sent me an email when my ex joined (don't even know how they got access to my yahoo address book)

Ward Daggett
Ward Daggett

We should be more concerned with Facebook and the NSA.

Mandie Morrison
Mandie Morrison

They cost me a client because of this - he received -95- emails asking me to be his contact in a single day. LinkedIn claimed they had no idea what he was talking about

Adi Furca
Adi Furca

Henrik Dior Why do you say that?

Ken Sweckard
Ken Sweckard

Yep they did so to me to the point that I had former business associates actually email me and have me remove them from my email lists. Good luck I would have to work for or with them again after this ....

Dinesh
Dinesh

LinkedIn is the worst. I can't wait for a better service to take all of their business away from them.

Ivan Von Turkovich
Ivan Von Turkovich

What did it take so long. They've been doing it for so long and hidden with anonymous profiles.