LinkedIn sued over data breach

Suit says social network should have had better security in place

An Illinois woman has filed suit against LinkedIn Corp. over the social network’s recent data breach. Katie Szpyrka said in her suit that LinkedIn violated its promise to users by not having better security in place, and is asking the court for $5 million.

Earlier this month, hackers hacked into LinkedIn’s site and stole about 6.5 million passwords from the site’s users. The site has more than 160 million subscribers.

Szpyrka filed her suit against the Mountain View, Calif.-based LinkedIn in San Jose. She is seeking class action status. According to the Chicago-based law firm Edelson McGuire, which filed the suit on her behalf, LinkedIn "deceived customers" by having a security policy "in clear contradiction of accepted industry standards for database security."

LinkedIn spokeswoman Erin O’Harra told Reuters that the suit is meritless, filed "by lawyers looking to take advantage of the situation." She also said that no user account was breached as a result of the incident. “And we have no reason to believe that any LinkedIn member has been injured," she added.

That could make it hard for Szpyrka to see victory in this case, as experts say plaintiffs must show they were actually harmed to succeed in these types of cases. "In consumer security class actions, the demonstration of harm is very challenging," Ira Rothken, a lawyer at the Rothken Law Firm, told Reuters. His firm handles similar plaintiffs cases.

Although LinkedIn’s troubles pale in comparison to the hacking nightmare Sony faced last year, it will no doubt prove to be a headache for the social network all the same.

Katie Szpyrka v. LinkedIn Corporation was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.



Cathleen Flahardy

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