LinkedIn will take legal action against a free browser extension that makes LinkedIn users? email addresses exposed to the public.
LinkedIn said that a web browser add-on tool – the free browser extension for Google Chrome called ?Sell Hack? is the one responsible for the exposure of the email address. LinkedIn described that Sell Hack will pop up a ?hack in? button to a LinkedIn profile once installed that allows users who are not connected with each other to find the email address associated with the account.
Sell Hack insisted that they are not doing anything malicious to the LinkedIn website and added that tool was created for marketing professionals and that all data is available publicly. In a post, Sell Hack said:
?The data we process is all publicly available. We just do the heavy lifting and complicated computing to save you time. We aren’t doing anything malicious to the LinkedIn website. We think browser extensions are the best way to personalize an individual?s web experience. We love LinkedIn and are trying to make it better for the community.?
LinkedIn is aware of the extension now, and to say the least, it is not pleased. Its legal team has issued Sell Hack a cease and desist, but since the extension isn’t technically a violation (as far as we’re aware), it would seem that there’s not too much LinkedIn could do to stop it.
Not pleased with Sell Hack, LinkedIn said, ?We are doing everything we can to shut Sell Hack down. On 31 March LinkedIn?s legal team delivered Sell Hack a cease-and-desist letter as a result of several violations. LinkedIn members who downloaded Sell Hack should uninstall it immediately and contact Sell Hack requesting that their data be deleted.?
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with 250 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe, is managed by seasoned executives from companies like Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, TiVo, PayPal, and Electronic Arts.
On their official blog, Sell Hack wrote today:
We learned a lot in the last 24 hours which calls for a more analytical retrospect. For the sake of this post I?m going to stick to bullets as there is a lot to communicate and we had more signups today than in our first 60 days combined!
– We received a C&D letter from LinkedIn on 3/31.
– This is not an April Fools hoax.
– SellHack plugin no longer works on LinkedIn pages.
– We only processed publicly visible data from LinkedIn based on your profile permissions?all of which has been deleted.
– LinkedIn stated: ?No member data has been put at risk as a result of Sell Hack.?
– We are building a better product that does not conflict with LinkedIn?s TOS.
– We?ve been described as sneaky, nefarious, no good, not ?legitimate? amongst other references by some. We?re not. We?re dads from the midwest who like to build web and mobile products that people use.
– Recently been lauded with love (196x), awesome (87x) , ?you guys f*cking rock? (3x) amongst others.
– There are 300+ unanswered emails (and growing) in my inbox asking why the button isn?t working. We?ll get back to you before we sleep. Promise.
– We hit a previously record month for signups in one day!
– You are awesome!
– What else would you like to see since we?re taking a fresh look at things?
– Sell Hack Team