Four LinkedIn users have filed a nationwide class action lawsuit, claiming the site is in violation of breaking federal and state laws.
The lawsuit accuses LinkedIn of accessing user email accounts without permission, and spamming contacts with repeated invitations to the site, reports the New York Times.
Upon signing up for the business-oriented social network, users are prompted to import contacts from their email accounts, such as Gmail or Yahoo mail. The lawsuit claims that LinkedIn does this without seeking a password — that is, by hacking into user email accounts.
After the email addresses are imported, LinkedIn requests permission to contact them on your behalf. By default, notes the Times, LinkedIn wants to invite every one of your email contacts to connect with you on the site.
An excerpt from the lawsuit states:
As a part of its effort to acquire new users, Linkedln sends multiple e-mails endorsing its products, services and brand to potential new users. In an effort to optimize the efficiency of this marketing strategy, Linkedln sends these “endorsement e-mails” to the list of e-mail addresses obtained without its existing users’ express consent and, to further enhance the effectiveness of this particular marketing campaign, these endorsement e-mails contain the name and likeness of those existing users from whom Linkedln surreptitiously obtained the list of e-mail addresses.
Despite these claims, LinkedIn maintains that it always gets full consent before contacting any email contacts.
“LinkedIn is committed to putting our members first, which includes being transparent about how we protect and utilize our members’ data,” the company said. “We believe that the legal claims in this lawsuit are without merit, and we intend to fight it vigorously.”
Source: New York Times