Aug 112011
 August 11, 2011  Posted by  Business, Featured News, Online

LinkedIn users are being urged to contact the company to complain after it was revealed that a change in privacy policy now allows third-party advertisers to harvest users’ profile information and pictures in their ads by default.

Blogger Steve Woodruff appears to have been the first to notice the changes to LinkedIn’s Terms of Use, which force users to manually untick a box in the Manage Social Advertising section of their privacy controls.

Paul Ducklin, Sophos head of technology in Asia Pacific, suggested that LinkedIn is making the same mistake as Facebook with its much-maligned decision to make face recognition functionality opt-out.


Dean Wilson of The Inquirer (UK) also piles on:

It’s a clever approach to advertising, but an absolutely abyssmal approach to privacy, as Linkedin has decided to automatically opt-in all of its users without informing them of the change.

Users can opt out if they want, but the option is buried in the Settings page, a ploy similar to that used by Facebook to hide its privacy settings. The big problem here is that if users don’t know that their name and photo are being used in this way, then how can they opt out of it?

Linkedin could face legal trouble for this decision. Digital Trends reports it is likely that Linkedin broke Dutch privacy law, which requires user consent for employing user images with advertisements. It could also be brought up before the European Commission and the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Read more on The Inquirer.

Update:  LinkedIn has responded to the criticism they’ve been receiving on their blog, here. It appears that they are removing the photos from their “social ads.”

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