LinkedIn Sued for 'Hacking' Users' Email Accounts

One woman says site emailed 3K contacts in her name

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 21, 2013 5:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – You know those LinkedIn invites from random people in your past that are always clogging up your inbox? They might be more sinister than they appear. A group of LinkedIn users is suing the professional networking site, claiming it hacked their email accounts and harvested the addresses of their contacts for marketing purposes, reports Bloomberg. "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 Linkedln’s servers," their complaint says, per All Things Digital. "Linkedln is able to download these addresses without requesting the password for the external email accounts or obtaining users’ consent."

Once the site has the email addresses, the plaintiffs say, it then sends them "endorsement emails." One LinkedIn user tells Bloomberg the site sent emails to more than 3,000 of her contacts in her name. "I contacted LinkedIn and they said, 'Oh, you can remove all those invitations from your account manually. We don’t know what happened,'" she says. Another man says the site emailed 200 contacts from his account—including ex-girlfriends. In a statement to All Things Digital, LinkedIn says: "We believe that the legal claims in this lawsuit are without merit, and we intend to fight it. vigorously." LinkedIn has been sued over hacking before—but last time it was the one that got hacked.

LinkedIn's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.
LinkedIn's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
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