LinkedIn is getting sued by users that claims that the professional social network company has broken into their e-mail accounts to repeatedly spam anyone that has been in contact with them. The complaint was filed in Los Angeles and it accused LinkedIn for violating laws that are related to hacking, wire-tapping, and false endorsements, according to GigaOM.
The reason why some of the users are suing LinkedIn is because invitations were sent to ex-spouses, associates with awkward relationships, and even a mentally ill former contact.
LinkedIn asks users to enter an e-mail address when registering and then uses that information to download every account from either Gmail or Yahoo! LinkedIn can grab the contact information as long as the user is logged in. If the user is not logged in, then LinkedIn asks users to log-in.
LinkedIn encourages users to invite others to the social network when they sign up for the service or expand their network if they are existing users. If a user agrees, then LinkedIn sends out an invitation to connect to all of the user’s contacts. If the contact does not respond, LinkedIn sends up two more reminder e-mails.
One of the plaintiffs in the case is a former ad manager for The New York Times. Other plaintiffs include a professor, a lawyer, and a movie producer. The plaintiffs believes that this practice amounts to a violation of the Wiretap Act, the Stored Communications Act, and several California privacy and right to publicity laws. LinkedIn even charges $10 to send an e-mail to someone that a user is not connected with.