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LinkedIn Denies Spamming, Tapping User Email

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LinkedIn has categorically rejected allegations that it makes a practice of tapping into users' private email accounts and exploiting their contact lists to send spam – charges brought forth in a class-action lawsuit filed last week.

“We do not access your email account without your permission,” said Blake Lawit, senior director of litigation for LinkedIn, in a statement responding to the suit’s allegations. “Claims that we ‘hack’ or ‘break into’ members' accounts are false. We never deceive you by ‘pretending to be you’ in order to access your email account. We never send messages or invitations to join LinkedIn on your behalf to anyone unless you have given us permission to do so.” 

Four LinkedIn users, Paul Perkins, Pennie Sempell, Ann Brandwein and Erin Eggers, filed the complaint in US District Court on Tuesday for the Northern District of California, claiming that there are hundreds of users of the professional social network who have felt bad consequences from a policy that sees LinkedIn "hacking into" user email accounts, downloading address books, and then, under the guise of being the user, sends out marketing spam.

The suit claims that when a user signs up for LinkedIn and provides an email address, it then uses an algorithm of some kind to harvest addresses of those with whom the user has exchanged mail. The “spam” consists of a pitch to sign up for LinkedIn, followed by two reminders. The mails all contain the user’s picture and details, so it looks like a legit recommendation from peoples’ friends or coworkers.

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Growth in women's share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations declined to 27% in 2011from a high of 34% in 1990. While women make up nearly half of the workforce, they were 26% of the STEM workforce in 2011.

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