LinkedIn Accused Of Secretly Selling Members Professional Data To Potential Employers

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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#3
Re: LinkedIn Accused Of Secretly Selling Your Professional Data To Potential Employer

I just figure people who post there and all of their information *know* (or should know) that is precisely the purpose of LinkedIn.
 

reynald

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Re: LinkedIn Accused Of Secretly Selling Your Professional Data To Potential Employer

"LinkedIn may have violated consumer protection laws by selling users? work history to potential employers without consent, according to a class-action lawsuit." -- from the article.

Wow, I just finished a John Grisham novel about a class-action lawsuit and can't believe that a case like this is possible in real life. As Marc said, people register to LinkedIn to get noticed, some to brag about credentials, or to build reputation. The common denominator of which is to be seen by potential employers/buyers.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
Re: LinkedIn Accused Of Secretly Selling Members Professional Data To Potential Emplo

Can't say people shouldn't already know this is the purpose of LinkedIn...

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/20...gets-sued-for-selling-your-professional-data/
I recognized "data mining" as a tool for organizations to make clandestine inquiries about individuals and organizations back in the 90s as the internet became something more than a hobby for geeks. I wished I had had such a tool when I was active in investment banking.

More than ever, folks using the internet or, especially, the "cloud," need to realize that such data is ultimately accessible to anybody and once it is available to anybody, it may be made available to everybody.

Just think of almost daily news headlines about celebrities having compromising photos plucked from previously thought "private accounts." NSA, the chief secret seeker for the USA, has had its own secrets exposed by a relatively lowly worker. Think how often data breaches expose personal credit and banking data to the world.

I am surprised at how many otherwise intelligent people freely air their extreme views on politics and social issues in broadcast emails, social media, and even relatively professional forums like ASQ, The Cove, and LinkedIn. Even using a pseudonym (screen name) is no protection, since algorithms and web spiders combine to connect supposedly disparate data to reveal ANYONE'S identity.

Now add the idea that someone has accidentally or inadvertently created a screen name similar to or even identical to one used by an extremist - there is a possibility or even probability a spider and its algorithm partner will connect the innocent to the raving lunatic and potential employers, lenders, even potential dates and mates will take that erroneous connection as gospel and proceed to shut off employment, credit, and even love to the innocent without him or her EVER learning why he/she has become a pariah.
 

Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
Re: LinkedIn Accused Of Secretly Selling Your Professional Data To Potential Employer

I just figure people who post there and all of their information *know* (or should know) that is precisely the purpose of LinkedIn.
That's what I figured, and I'm rather happy they are sending out my name to folks. If they happen to get paid for it - good for them.
 
#8
Re: LinkedIn Accused Of Secretly Selling Members Professional Data To Potential Emplo

That may explain why I continue to get calls sometimes as much as daily and have not sent a resume or posted online for almost 2 years. Most are lateral moves that must think if you are not happy you will make the move for the same money and the uncertainty of that company's future. Overall quite happy where I am at for now.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#9
Re: LinkedIn Accused Of Secretly Selling Members Professional Data To Potential Emplo

That may explain why I continue to get calls sometimes as much as daily and have not sent a resume or posted online for almost 2 years. Most are lateral moves that must think if you are not happy you will make the move for the same money and the uncertainty of that company's future. Overall quite happy where I am at for now.
the recruiters reason this way:
"I have a hole I want to fill. I am not looking to get someone to grow into that hole, I want the person to fill the hole exactly. I know that if I contact a large enough quantity of hole fillers, one or more will be interested enough to respond. I really am NOT in the business of helping anyone improve his situation, I am only interested in filling MY hole."
It's the old "throw enough spaghetti at the wall, some is bound to stick" game. The recruiters who troll LinkedIn are rarely true "headhunters," they are just grunts filling holes.
 
P

pldey42

#10
Re: LinkedIn Accused Of Secretly Selling Members Professional Data To Potential Emplo

I thought initially that this was just a newspaper report (and therefore untrustworthy) and since the information one puts on LinkedIn is public anyway, who'd be mug enough to pay them. I could not see how they could be accused of doing something secret.

Then I remembered that one reason I dislike LinkedIn intensely is that it keeps trying to trick me into letting it upload my MS Outlook address book, ostensibly to help me make contact with people I already know.

Here are extracts from their "privacy" policy pertaining to their use of Users' contact information:

LinkedIn may also use this information to show you and other Members that you share the same uploaded contacts who may or may not be Members.
[..]
Another example are software tools that allow you to see LinkedIn and other public social media information about the people you email or meet with and leverage LinkedIn to help you gain insights from and grow your network. If you grant these products (mobile applications or other LinkedIn services that sync external email and calendar services, such as LinkedIn Connected) permission to access your email and calendar accounts, they will access and may store some of your email header and calendar history information in order to match it to LinkedIn and other public social media profiles.
[..]
A recruiter or other such subscriber may also manage and store information it has independently obtained about you outside of our Services, such as a resume, in connection with LinkedIn?s platform. Any personal information obtained independently of LinkedIn services will not be added by LinkedIn to your profile and is not under LinkedIn?s control but is subject to the policies of the LinkedIn recruiting, marketing or sales solution subscriber. We store such information on behalf of such subscriber who can remove it at any time. We do not further process such information.​

So it appears that they can

  • use contact information to trawl the internet for all of a User's social media interactions;
  • correlate contact information with other user profiles to guess at who works for whom, and thus generate an employment history that may or may not match a User's profile;
  • host (host, not construct, for that would not comply with their user privacy statement) blacklists (illegal in the UK) compiled and sold by third parties.
In other words, they could be getting a lot more from uploaded contact lists than one might reasonably suppose from the text alongside their enticing little yellow button.

There's also a hint that resumes one shares with potential employers are finding their way into the LinkedIn system - the LinkedIn Privacy notice specifically mentions "such as a resume".

Since it's all covered by their privacy statement I doubt whether LinkedIn's behaviour is illegal in the UK (could be wrong but I doubt it) because the illegal stuff, if there is any, is done by third parties; LinkedIn only facilitate it, "Not guilty," they'd no doubt claim.

I doubt also that the lawsuit in the USA will succeed because they have more broad an interpretation of "consumer records" than I imagine your laws intended. (I think the US law is only about consumers' credit and financial records, could be wrong, best of luck to 'em.)

So while it's not secret, if it's going on, it's certainly disingenuous. I'm more glad than ever that - despite using LinkedIn but with misgivings and being careful what I put online - I do not let them have my address book; not that I have anything to hide, but people can make wrong assumptions.

The difficulty with what they may be doing is proving it. Here in the UK I can demand all the info they have about me under the Data Protection Act. I'm not sure that they would tell me what their "third parties" got on me, claiming that they don't process it, and I'm sure they wouldn't share the reports that are generated using theirs and their third party tools, aggregating what the network of third parties know about me.

So for people being blacklisted (it happens still, despite being illegal) or discriminated against on grounds of religion, race etc., it would be hard to find out and know whom to prosecute.

Also, we all craft our resumes specifically for a job application, highlighting bits that this particular job would benefit from, and editing out irrelevancies to focus on the positives. A recruiter with access to all one's resumes would see the differences and maybe jump to the wrong conclusions. (Recently I removed early history from my resume to avoid being filtered out by employment agencies that were illegally discriminating against those of us who are, ahem, highly experienced.)

People with convictions they do not have to declare might find themselves exposed by the email trails to probation officers or lawyers. People who were accused but never convicted would be similarly at risk.

I hope the claim leads to an independent investigation.

Pat
 
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