LinkedIn has just released a new mobile app called Intro. This new app automatically inserts LinkedIn profile information into your email, allowing you to see who is emailing you, their employment background, and even connect with them on LinkedIn.
Sounds pretty good, right?
There’s one huge problem with this: when you install Intro on your mobile device, it automatically reroutes all your email through LinkedIn’s email servers.
By rerouting your email through their servers, LinkedIn can scan and store all of your information in your emails, including contacts and email content. Are you sure you want a third party to be able to access all of this private information? Probably not.
What’s Wrong with LinkedIn’s Intro
A security expert named Bishop Fox recently published a blog post in which he detailed exactly why Intro is such a bad idea.
One reason is that whenever a new data source is added to a digital product, such as what LinkedIn will do when it inserts profile information into your email, this raises the potential for hackers to break into it.
Last year, LinkedIn had 6.5 million member username and passwords stolen, so they do not exactly have a stellar security record. How can users be sure that Intro is truly protecting their privacy?
Another reason to be concerned is that LinkedIn is not clear about what they will do with your email content. At the very least, they will store the names of the people who you email, or receive email from. Are you really sure you want them to know this information?
If you install Intro on your work phone, you may be in violation of your company’s security policies by sending sensitive company information to third-parties.
But Here’s the Biggest Reason to be Wary of Intro
But what’s really concerning is that LinkedIn’s privacy policies are vague regarding if they really protect your privacy or not. Their policies contain the following statement:
Does LinkedIn Intro disclose information to anyone else? We will never sell, rent, or give away private data about you or your contacts.
Notice what that statement doesn’t say. It doesn’t say “No, we don’t disclose any of your information to anyone else.”
We don’t know what they consider private data. Is your email content private? What about your LinkedIn contact list? We don’t know because they don’t say. So if you are serious about your online security, you probably want to stay away from LinkedIn’s Intro. From a privacy perspective, there are simply too many red flags.