Four Linkedin users have accused the site of hacking into their email accounts and accessing their contact lists. A complaint filed in a US District Court accuses the largest professional networking site of impersonating its users for obtaining access to their email contacts.
The complaint, among other things, states that, "If a LinkedIn user leaves an external email account open, LinkedIn pretends to be that user and downloads the email addresses contained anywhere in that account to LinkedIn's servers. LinkedIn is able to download these addresses without requesting the password for the external email accounts or obtaining users' consent." (We obtained the complaint copy from Allthingsd.com, here). The complainants also stated that LinkedIn sends multiple emails endorsing its products and services to acquire potential users. The lawsuit is seeking damages on behalf of all LinkedIn users.
In response to this legal tiff making headlines, LinkedIn has posted on its company blog refuting any allegations made by the complainants.
"As you may have read recently, a class action lawsuit was filed against LinkedIn last week. The lawsuit alleges that we "break into" the email accounts of our members who choose to upload their email address books to LinkedIn. Quite simply, this is not true, and with so much misinformation out there, we wanted to clear up a few things for our members," read the blog post authored by Blake Lawit, senior director- litigation, LinkedIn. The post further maintains that LinkedIn does not access users' email accounts without their permission neither does it send messages or invitations on users' behalf to anyone unless the user has given the said permission. "The claims in this lawsuit are without merit, and we wanted to correct the false accusations and misleading headlines," the post concluded.
The nature of accusations is typical in the digital world of networking sites. However, it could also be a case of pure ignorance on the part of users. Many times on joining a networking site or adding an external app to it we click 'OK' when it asks for various permissions without even reading through them. After all, LinkedIn has stated that it does no such thing as sending endorsements to people in your list, unless you have given the permission. Although, in the complaint copy, few users have claimed that even after changing the privacy settings such emails from LinkedIn to their contacts did not stop.
Keep track of this space for more on this.