I don’t know how many of you are LinkedIn users, but I’m already building my (online) network. LinkedIn is a professional network, which the site also propagandize, so I automatically -and maybe a bit naive- assume the site is reliable and will not use my information for the wrong purpose. With this in mind, a news post on my NU.nl App drew my eye. I normally don’t look at NUtech (NU technology) but the header said: ‘LinkedIn hackt e-mailaccounts en steelt contactenlijsten‘. (English: LinkedIn hacks email accounts and steals contact lists)
An abstract: some LinkedIn users are accusing the social network site of using their email addresses and their contact list to send spam emails. The network can download the addresses without the permission of the user. This is, according to the users, an invasion of privacy. The network uses the addresses to send so called endorsement mails: the receiver can give the LinkedIn member specific skills, but he or she has to have an account to do this. The users think that LinkedIn uses their mail addresses to increase the number of members.
According to LinkedIn, the site isn’t doing anything illegal and this action isn’t in contradiction with the privacy statement of the network. But the post sure did raise my concerns. If a professional website like LinkedIn is doing this, what will other -less credible- sites do?
I think the story is another wake-up call to always think about what information you put on the internet and where you put it. I will definitely use LinkedIn in the future, but I do wonder how other people think about the LinkedIn incident. Will you from now on read the whole privacy statement, just to make sure? Is the issue (for the non-members) a reason not to join LinkedIn? Or is the whole incident just another dull story?
For the people who don’t know LinkedIn, here is a short video:
The article (in Dutch): http://nutech.nl/internet/3581896/linkedin-hackt-e-mailaccounts-en-steelt-contactenlijsten.html