Earlier today we reported that the LinkedIn iOS app collects full meeting notes and details from your device’s calendar and sends them back to the company in plain text.
The information is gathered without explicit permission by a feature that allows users to access their calendar within the app. Well, LinkedIn has now taken the time to formulate an official response to this.
“You may have seen a few press stories highlighting concerns about how your data is used in the opt-in calendar feature of our mobile phone apps,” says Joff Redfern, Mobile Product Head at LinkedIn. “We deeply care about our members trust so I want to provide clarity around what we do, don’t do, and outline ways we are going to make a great feature even better.”
The LinkedIn calendar feature syncs with your mobile’s calendar to provide information about the people you are about to meet, by displaying their LinkedIn profile. “In order to provide our calendar service to those who choose to use it, we need to send information about your calendar events to our servers so we can match people with LinkedIn profiles,” explains Redfern. “That information is sent securely over SSL and we never share or store your calendar information.”
Redfern goes on to explain that to make its algorithm for matching people with profiles smarter, it pulls the complete calendar event, including email addresses of people users are meeting with, meeting subject, location and meeting notes. He goes on to note what LinkedIn does and doesn’t do.
- We ask your permission before accessing your calendar, this will continue to be an opt-in feature
- We provide you with a way to turn off the calendar feature at any time in the settings
- We send calendar data to our server only when the LinkedIn app is launched to be matched with relevant LinkedIn profiles of meeting attendees
- We send your calendar data to our servers over a secure SSL connection
- We do not store any calendar information on our servers
- We do not share or use your calendar data for purposes other than matching it with relevant LinkedIn profiles
- We do not under any circumstances access your calendar data unless you have explicitly opted in to sync your calendar
What you really want to know, of course, is what LinkedIn will do about this highlighted issue moving forward. Well, Redfern says that LinkedIn will no longer transmit data from the meeting notes section of an individual’s calendar event, and they’re inserting a ‘Learn More’ link to explain how your data is being used.
These updates are already live on the Android app, and LinkedIn say it has been submitted to Apple’s App Store and will be available shortly.
“It’s a great feature,” continues Redfern. “We hope you try it out. If at any time you decide it’s not for you then you can always go to the mobile apps settings page to turn off the calendar feature.”