Last week, a class action lawsuit was filed against LinkedIn, alleging that it breaks into users' email accounts. The company says the suit is "without merit", and that accusations are false.
Main St. (part of TheStreet Network) reported on the suit on September 18th, saying that it was filed in San Jose Federal Court in the Northern District of California, and that it claims LinkedIn "harvests email addresses and sends multiple reminder emails, ostensibly on behalf of the user, advertising LinkedIn to non-members."
The report goes on:
Contrary to reassurances on LinkedIn's website that it will not send emails "without your permission," the filing claims LinkedIn promotes its service by downloading email addresses from members' external email accounts and repeatedly emailing the addresses requesting they join LinkedIn.
To enhanced the effectiveness of this particular marketing campaign, the suit states that the endorsement emails contain the name and likeness of the existing users from whom Linkedln "surreptitiously" obtained the list of email addresses.
LinkedIn took to its blog on Saturday to respond.
"The lawsuit alleges that we 'break into' the email accounts of our members who choose to upload their email address books to LinkedIn," writes LinkedIn's Blake Lawit. "Quite simply, this is not true, and with so much misinformation out there, we wanted to clear up a few things for our members."
"We do not access your email account without your permission," he continues. "Claims that we 'hack' or 'break into' members’ accounts are false. We never deceive you by 'pretending to be you' in order to access your email account. We never send messages or invitations to join LinkedIn on your behalf to anyone unless you have given us permission to do so."
Lawit notes that LinkedIn does let users share their email contacts so they can connect with others they know and trust.
This all comes after LinkedIn released its bi-annual transparency report, and the company saying that it has been fighting to release the number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests it receives. More on that here.
LinkedIn privacy is an ongoing concern among some users. Here's a related story from June:
Image: LinkedIn (Flickr)