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LinkedIn Faced Probe For Facebook Ads Targeting 18 mn Non-Members

It is still not clear how LinkedIn got hold of those 18 million email addresses

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LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay
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An investigation by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) found that LinkedIn had processed hashed email addresses of approximately 18 million non-LinkedIn members and targeted these individuals on Facebook without necessary permission, a new report has revealed.

The investigation covered the activities of the Microsoft-owned professional networking platform during the first six months of 2018, The Verge reported on Saturday.

In its report published on Friday, DPC said that it concluded its audit of LinkedIn Ireland Unlimited Company (LinkedIn) in respect of its processing of personal data following an investigation of a complaint notified to the DPC by a non-LinkedIn user.

The complaint concerned LinkedIn’s obtaining and use of the complainant’s email address for the purpose of targeted advertising on the Facebook.

The investigation revealed that that LinkedIn Corporation in the US did not have the required permission from the data controller – LinkedIn Ireland — to process hashed email addresses of 18 million non-LinkedIn members.

India has witnessed nearly 80 per cent growth in Human Resource (HR) analytics professionals in the past five years, global professional network site LinkedIn said on Tuesday.
LinkedIn reports that HR professional number grew by 80% in last 5 years in India. Pixabay

The complaint was ultimately “amicably resolved”, with LinkedIn implementing a number of immediate actions to cease the processing of user data for the purposes that gave rise to the complaint, DPC said in its report.

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 organisational measures.”

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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 TechCrunch in a statement.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

“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.

As TechCrunch pointed out LinkedIn did not get fined in this process because until the implementation of GDPR at the end of May, the regulator had no power to enforce fines.

It is still not clear how LinkedIn got hold of those 18 million email addresses. (IANS)

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Irish Watchdog Opens Inquiry into Latest Privacy Breach of Facebook

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump's campaign

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Irish watchdog opens inquiry into latest Facebook privacy breach. Pixabay

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has announced a fresh investigation into Facebook, a day after the social networking giant admitted another security breach where nearly 6.8 million users risked their private photos being exposed to third-party apps.

Facebook, which is already facing a probe from the Irish watchdog for a previous privacy leak in September that affected 50 million people, may end up with fine of 4 per cent of its annual turnover – the highest fine under the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The Independent reported on Saturday.

In Facebook’s case, the fine could amount to nearly 1.5 billion euros.

“The Irish DPC has received a number of breach notifications from Facebook since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25, 2018,” a spokesperson for the watchdog was quoted as saying.

The fresh move came after Facebook on Friday said more than 1,500 apps built by 876 developers may have also been affected by the bug that exposed users’ unshared photos during a 12-day-period from September 13 to 25.

Facebook, in a statement, said it has fixed the breach and will roll out next week “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug”.

“Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorised to access their photos.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“We’re sorry this happened,” said Facebook, adding that it will also notify the people potentially impacted by this bug via an alert.

The disclosure is another example of Facebook’s failure to properly protect users’ privacy that may drew more criticism of its privacy policy.

Earlier this month, Italian regulators fined Facebook 10 million euros for selling users’ data without informing them.

The competition watchdog handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros, “also for discouraging users from trying to limit how the company shares their data”.

The Irish watchdog, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, in October opened a formal investigation into a data breach which affected 50 million users.

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“The investigation will examine Facebook’s compliance with its obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes,” said the DPC.

The world’s largest social media network has been grilled over the past year for its mishandling of user data, including its involvement in a privacy scandal in March when Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy firm, was accused of illegally accessing the data of more than 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump’s campaign. (IANS)