LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) will have to face a lawsuit by customers who claimed the professional social network violated their privacy by accessing their external email accounts, downloading contact e-mail addresses, and soliciting businesses from those contacts as ordered by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California.
Judge Koh found that customers consented to LinkedIn’s sending an initial “endorsement email” to recruit contacts, but they did not agree to let LinkedIn send two reminder e-mails when the initial e-mail is ignored.
This could injure “users’ reputations by allowing contacts to think that the users are the types of people who spam their contacts or are unable to take the hint that their contacts do not want to join their LinkedIn network,” wrote Koh in her decision.
Judge Koh added that three screens before the disclosure regarding the first invitation said that the professional social network will not e-mail anyone without your permission.
Judge Koh said that customers may pursue claims that LinkedIn violated their right of publicity, which protects them from unauthorized use of names and likenesses for commercial purposes and violates a California unfair competition law.
Judge Koh dismissed other claims, including claims that LinkedIn violated a federal wiretap law. The lawsuit is seeking class action status. The case was filed under: Perkins et al v. LinkedIn Corp, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 13-04303.