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LinkedIn Has Privacy and Law Enforcement Data Request Guidelines Too – Social Tech eDiscovery

Last week, we discussed recent updates to Twitter’s Law Enforcement policies as well as Twitter’s latest Transparency Report to show government requests for data.  Today, let’s take a look at the Privacy Policy and Law Enforcement Guidelines for LinkedIn.

This is our first time to take a look at LinkedIn, which (as you probably know) is a business-focused social networking site, designed for professional networking.  On March 26th of this year, LinkedIn updated its Terms of Service, which include its Privacy Policy and User Agreement, in part because they acquired Pulse, a mobile app, and SlideShare, a sharing platform for business documents, videos and presentations. As a result, LinkedIn integrated SlideShare and Pulse’s Terms of Service into one unified agreement.

The Privacy Policy is broken into four main sections: 1) What information we collect, 2) How we use your personal information, 3) Your choices & obligations and 4) Other information.  In the “How we use your personal information”, LinkedIn notes that “It is possible that we may need to disclose personal information, profile information, or information about your activities as a Member or Visitor when required by law, subpoena, or other legal process” as well as to investigate potential illegal activities, enforce the User Agreement or exercise the rights of LinkedIn or its members.  With regard to notifying users about these requests, LinkedIn states they “attempt to notify Members about legal demands for their data when appropriate in our judgment, unless prohibited by law or court order or when the request is an emergency” and they “may dispute such demands when we believe, in our discretion, that the requests are overbroad, vague or lack proper authority”.

In the “Your choices & obligations” section, LinkedIn’s policies regarding the access rights and information on closing members’ accounts are similar to those of Facebook andTwitter. If members close their account, their information will be removed within 24 hours, and LinkedIn delete closed account information and de-personalizes logs and other backup information within 30 days (unless required for legal obligations, meeting regulatory requirements, resolving disputes, and preventing fraud and abuse).

LinkedIn’s Law Enforcement Guidelines are kept in a separate PDF document.  The Guidelines answer questions such as the type of data requests you can make, your contact information that you must provide, information being requested, types of data that might be available, whether members will be notified that their information is being requested, non-US requirements, etc.  LinkedIn only accepts Data Requests, such as subpoenas and search warrants; Preservation Requests, in connection with official criminal investigations; and Emergency Requests, using the Emergency Request Form on the last page. You can only submit requests via fax, certified mail, express courier or in person, NOT online.  What, no horse and buggy?

Tomorrow, we will take a look at LinkedIn’s Transparency Report to see how many government requests they receive.  It will be here before you know it!

So, what do you think?  Have you ever had to request data from LinkedIn for a case?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.