SAN FRANCISCO -- It’s no secret that some people really don’t like the aggressive way that LinkedIn convinces you to turn over your email address book to send those pesky invitations to friends to sign up for the service.
Now four users are suing the professional networking service over it.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court this week, they allege LinkedIn is “hacking” into their email accounts without their consent and harvesting the email addresses of everyone they have ever swapped messages with.
“The hacking of the users' email accounts and downloading of all email addresses associated with that user's account is done without clearly notifying the user or obtaining his or her consent,” says the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose.
They acknowledge LinkedIn asked permission, but say it never disclosed it would bombard friends with email invitations.
The group is asking a federal judge to bar LinkedIn from the practice and turn over any revenue made through it.
“LinkedIn’s own website contains hundreds of complaints regarding this practice,” the complaint says.
The lawsuit is seeking class action status and unspecified damages.
"LinkedIn is committed to putting our members first, which includes being transparent about how we protect and utilize our members' data,” LinkedIn spokesman Hani Durzy said in an emailed statement. “We believe that the legal claims in this lawsuit are without merit, and we intend to fight it vigorously."