On June 16, 2011, LinkedIn made certain changes to its privacy
policy which are causing quite a stir, both in the media and among
LinkedIn users (a summary of these changes can be found here). Of prime concern to its users is the
fact that LinkedIn has unilaterally permitted itself to use
personal information to "create and distribute advertising
relevant to the (user's) or the (user's) networks'
By way of example, LinkedIn states that "when you recommend
a product, follow a company, establish or update your profile, join
a group, etc., LinkedIn may use these actions to create social
advertisements for your network on LinkedIn using your profile
photo and name."
And here's the part which is causing the most discontent;
LinkedIn has given itself the right to use its users' personal
information in this manner as a default setting. Users who do not
wish to concede this right to LinkedIn must explicitly opt-out of
the provision by visiting here.
Certain commentators in Europe, such as the EU Data Protection
Working Party, have already flagged that this change may violate
European regulations, due to the fact that it was effected without
first obtaining users' explicit consent.
In Canada, to our knowledge, the privacy commissioner has yet to
make a pronouncement regarding these changes. However, given that
the commissioner has in the past voiced concerns in relation to
similar practices employed by Facebook (see PIPEDA Case Summary
#2009-008 here, in particular paragraphs 130-139), a
complaint may be lodged shortly. We will continue to monitor
ongoing developments so that it will be difficult for LinkedIn to
opt-out of our ongoing concerns.
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