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Lawsuit against LinkedIn dismissed

7/19/2012

A strong privacy policy and terms of use agreement can keep small business owners protected from legal action from users and consumers, as recently demonstrated by the outcome of a lawsuit filed against LinkedIn.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh recently dismissed a lawsuit filed against the professional networking site filed by two users "with prejudice," which means the users cannot strengthen their case and re-file. Koh previously had dismissed an earlier version of the lawsuit "without prejudice," which allowed the plaintiffs to bolster their claims and try again.

The users alleged that LinkedIn "leaked" data about users to advertisers by embedding user IDs in referrer headers that are sent to advertising networks. However, Koh said the claims were too speculative, and she also blocked the plaintiffs' attempt to sue the website for violating promises related to personal data in its privacy policy. She ruled that because the users did not suffer any financial losses, they couldn't sue for breach of contract.

LinkedIn's privacy policy says it uses personal information to administer accounts, enable users to connect and communicate with other users, connect users to professional opportunities, and send service or promotional communications. It details that it does not "sell, rent or otherwise provide personally identifiable information to third parties without your consent except where it is necessary to carry out your instructions (to process your payment information, for example)."