Newsbreak: Yahoo! and LinkedIn Sued for Violating Privacy

Posted October 16, 2013 in The Internet & The Law Video by


Betsy Kim, editorial director of, provides today’s Newsbreak with information on your Internet privacy.

Yahoo! is being sued by users of its email system. The plaintiffs claim Yahoo! illegally reads, copies and analyzes emails to make money with targeted advertising and data collection. They say this violates California’s Invasion of Privacy Act and the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

The complaint states Yahoo! put in a new default email system, telling email account holders it would look for keywords and links to protect against spam and serve users with Internet-based advertising to personalize the experience. The plaintiffs say this is not necessary for the transmission of emails, the basic operations of Yahoo! Mail.

iStock/ Thinkstock

iStock/ Thinkstock

You might want to check your LinkedIn account settings.

The social networking company is facing an Internet privacy class action. It’s accused of hacking into users’ email accounts and downloading email addresses without clearly notifying users or obtaining consent. The plaintiffs say LinkedIn then uses those addresses to send marketing emails, and multiple, follow-up reminders promoting its service–for its own monetary gain. The complaint claims LinkedIn harvests email addresses of some people users no longer wanted to communicate with, such as old employers, acquaintances, and ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends.

LinkedIn says they only use email accounts with permission.

Finally, California recently passed a law requiring social media companies to allow those 18 and under to delete their posts. The law goes into effect in January 2015. Although major sites like Facebook and Twitter already allow for this, it will require all social media companies to provide minors this option to erase photos and messages.

The law also bans targeting minors for certain products, including tobacco, alcohol and firearms.

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