Social networking site LinkedIn may have breached Dutch privacy law with a recent change it made in its members' profile settings. The Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP) says LinkedIn should have asked its users to give their explicit consent to the use of their portraits as illustration material in its advertising.
A CPB spokesperson told online magazine Webwereld that default settings on social websites should be "privacy-friendly", in other words, LinkedIn should have offered its users an 'opt-in': members' portraits will not be used unless the member gives explicit consent.
The Dutch privacy watchdog's view is shared by an EU Data Protection Working Party, which recently presented a definition of "consent" that is widely accepted. Even though the definition is considered too narrow by some critics, lawyers agree that LinkedIn is in clear breach of the opt-in rule.
Apart from a posting on its company blog, LinkedIn has not reacted to the privacy concerns expressed by critics.
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