LinkedIn has come under fire with one Kevin Low, a user who is suing it for allegedly violating his privacy.
He says the site is in violation of state and federal anti-wiretapping laws, as well as its own privacy policies, which state that members names will not be provided to advertisers without prior consent.
Low says user IDs are passed on in a way to make it possible for third parties to associate a particular user with a particular tracking cookie. This, Low argues, removes users anonymity.
In the complaint, filed in the District Court for northern California, Mr Low said that had he been given the choice he would not have agreed to his personal information being shared. He added that he was “embarrassed and humiliated by the disclosure of his personally identifiable browsing history.”
The statement continued to state that anyone who has used the internet to discreetly seek advice about sensitive topics such as hemorrhoids, sexually transmitted diseases and drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation, could be “reasonably certain that these sensitive inquiries had been captured in the browsing history and incorporated into a personalised profile” which in turn would be sent to marketers for a fee.
He is now seeking class-action status. If this goes ahead it could allow other members to seek damages for violation of privacy.
Of course LinkedIn isn’t the first company to be sued for a similar breach. Last year Facebook was under fire with claims that it had violated users’ privacy with referrer headers that sent users’ names to advertisers.