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FYI(News): LinkedIn processed 18 million email addresses of non-users for targeted advertising


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From The Irish Times https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/linkedin-processed-18-million-email-addresses-of-non-users-for-targeted-advertising-1.3708284

“Social media network LinkedIn processed the email addresses of 18 million non-members and targeted them with advertising on Facebook without permission, an audit by the Data Protection Commissioner has found. 

The Data Protection Commissioner conducted an audit of the multinational LinkedIn Ireland, home to the company’s EU headquarters, after it became concerned with “systemic” issues in relation to how the company was processing the personal data of people who were not members of the network. 

A non-LinkedIn user complained to the office that their email address had been obtained and used by the company for the purposes of targeted advertising on Facebook, the commissioner’s annual report outlines. 

An investigation identified that LinkedIn Corp in the US, which processes data on behalf of LinkedIn Ireland, processed the email addresses of about 18 million non-LinkedIn members and targeted these individuals on the Facebook platform.

The addresses were uploaded to Facebook in a “hashed” or coded form which allowed Facebook to deliver ads to LinkedIn’s intended targets. The commissioner’s report said LinkedIn in the US had targeted the 18 million users on Facebook in the absence of instructions from LinkedIn in Ireland, which was the data controller.

However, following on from this complaint, the DPC said it was concerned with the “wider systemic” issues identified and it commenced an audit to verify that LinkedIn had appropriate security measures in place, particularly for its processing of data about non-members.

“The audit identified that LinkedIn Corp was undertaking the pre-computation of a suggested professional network for non-LinkedIn members,” the report said.

“As a result of the findings of our audit, LinkedIn Corp was instructed by LinkedIn Ireland, as data controller of EU user data, to cease pre-compute processing and to delete all personal data associated with such processing prior to May 25th, 2018.””


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