LinkedIn may be hacking your email account to harvest contacts

It’s one of those sorts of behaviors that you would expect to see from a desperate startup, not a major social networking site with public money and tons of upside. Now, law suits are lining up against LinkedIn for allegedly making a rookie mistake.

LinkedIn Corp., owner of the world’s most popular professional-networking website, was sued by customers who claim the company appropriated their identities for marketing purposes by hacking into their external e-mail accounts and downloading contacts’ addresses.

The customers, who aim to lead a group suit against LinkedIn, asked a federal judge in San Jose, California, to bar the company from repeating the alleged violations and to force it to return any revenue stemming from its use of their identities to promote the site to non-members, according to a court filing.

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