Linkedin settled a lawsuit for over $13 million in a class action grounded on their alleged use of users’ email contacts it obtained from the “Add Connections” feature in its service. The high amount serves as a vindication of privacy rights yet also belies hidden dangers still existing with respect to its continued inconspicuous attempts to obtain permission to use such information.
In addition to the high monetary amount, Linkedin agreed to revamp its user permission process for the use of contact information, including its promise to implement a new screen that will display “import your address book,” if a user elects to use the service mentioned above.
Is that enough?
Is this a commonly used strategy?
Yes. Linkedin is not the only one. Many apps will have the same pop-up screen that will display similar Terms of Service at the similarly substantial risk to the privacy of your contacts. We all quickly agree without realizing to what we actually agreed. Make sure it’s a choice and use caution when signing up for services because it can possibly grant the company permission to use a broad swath of your data for marketing purposes with little recourse available in defense.