Report Suggests LinkedIn Targeting Facebook Users Without Permissions

An investigation which is done by the Ireland Data Protection Commission found that LinkedIn has processed the hashed email address of around 18 Million Non-LinkedIn members and targeted these individuals on Facebook without asking the permission, according to the report.

The investigation covered the activities of the Microsoft, owned professional networking platform at the time of first six months of 2019. According to the report.

In its report, which is published on last Friday states, that DPC said that it concludes its audit of the LinkedIn Ireland Unlimited Company in respect of its processing of personal data following with an investigation of a complaint which is notified to the DPC by a non-LinkedIn user.

The complaint is much more concerned about the LinkedIn obtaining and use of the user’s email address for the purpose of targeting the advertising on the largest social media channel Facebook.

The investigation unveiled that the LinkedIn Corporation in the US did not have any of this required permission from the data Controller, LinkedIn Ireland to process the hashed email addresses of the 18 Million non-LinkedIn members.

However, the body was “concerned with the wider systemic issues identified” in its report, and undertook a second audit to see if LinkedIn had adequate “technical security and organizational measures.”

DPC found that the site was “undertaking the pre-computation of a suggested professional network for non-LinkedIn members,” and ordered them to stop and delete associated data that existed prior to May 25 of this year, the day when General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect.

“We appreciate the DPC's 2017 investigation of a complaint about an advertising campaign and fully cooperated,” Denis Kelleher, Head of Privacy, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, for LinkedIn, told in a statement.

“Unfortunately the strong processes and procedures we have in place were not followed, and for that we are sorry. We've taken appropriate action, and have improved the way we work to ensure that this will not happen again,” Kelleher said. It is still not clear how LinkedIn got hold of those 18 million email addresses.

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