Users Sue LinkedIn for ‘Hacking’ E-Mails

LinkedIn has largely escaped the privacy drama that has plagued Facebook and Google over the years. But the business social networking site may have stepped into some trouble with its alleged e-mail harvesting practices.

Four people filed a lawsuit accusing LinkedIn of tapping their e-mail accounts without permission, harvesting e-mail addresses, and sending out essentially spammy e-mails inviting their contacts to join the social network.

The lawsuit, which was filed in San Jose federal court by Russ August & Kabat, a Los Angeles-based law firm, is seeking damages on behalf of all LinkedIn members for "breaking into" personal e-mail accounts disguised as the owner.

LinkedIn's Alleged Violations

"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," the nationwide class action lawsuit reads.

"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."

Blake Lawit, senior director of Litigation at LinkedIn, responded in a blog post on Saturday night. He denied that the platform breaks into the e-mail accounts of its members who choose to upload their e-mail address books to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn's Denial

"Quite simply, this is not true, and with so much misinformation out there, we wanted to clear up a few things for our members," he wrote. He went on to say that LinkedIn does not access members' e-mail accounts without their permission and argued claims that the site hacks or breaks into members' accounts are false.

"We never deceive you by "pretending to be you" in order...

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