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    Computerworld: Judge dismisses privacy lawsuit against LinkedIn

    Computerworld reports on a class-action lawsuit, Low v. LinkedIn Corp., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97012 (N.D. Cal. July 12, 2012) (pdf), against social-networking site LinkedIn concerning privacy issues:

    A federal judge in California dismissed a privacy class-action lawsuit against LinkedIn that alleged the social media network violated provisions of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) when it disclosed the IDs and browsing histories of LinkedIn users to advertising companies.

    In a 27-page decision, District Judge Lucy Koh, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, ruled that LinkedIn cannot be sued under the SCA because the company is neither a remote computing service (RCS) nor an electronic communication service (ECS). […]

    News of the ruling in the case was first reported by legal blog Fourthamendment.com.

    LinkedIn user Kevin Low filed the lawsuit in March 2011 on behalf of all users of the professional social networking service. Low alleged that LinkedIn violated his privacy rights under the SCA when the company illegally transmitted his personally identifiable browsing history to advertisers, Internet marketing companies, data brokers and web tracking companies. […]

    Koh, however, rejected the arguments, saying that even if Low’s claims were true, the SCA did not apply to LinkedIn. She dismissed Low’s argument that LinkedIn is a remote computing service as defined under the SCA.

    Under the statute, an RCS is a company that processes or stores data belonging to others. “In defining RCS, ‘Congress appeared to view ‘storage’ as a virtual filing cabinet,’ ” Koh said, citing from another case.

    “LinkedIn was not acting “as a virtual filing cabinet,” or as an off-site processor of data with respect to the user IDs it created,” Koh wrote. The URL addresses of viewed pages were not sent to LinkedIn for storage or processing purposes, she said in dismissing the complaint.

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