Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Communications Privacy Social Networks The Internet

Vendor Tracks LinkedIn Profile Changes To Alert Client Employers (techtarget.com) 101

dcblogs shares a report from TechTarget: IT managers have long had the ability and right to monitor employee behavior on internal networks. Now, HR managers are getting similar capabilities thanks to cloud-based services -- but for tracking employee activity outside of their employer's network. A controversy and court fight is swelling over its potential impact on employee privacy. A San Francisco-based startup, hiQ Labs Inc., offers products based on its analysis of publicly available LinkedIn data. One is Keeper, which identifies employees at risk of being recruited away, and another is Skill Mapper, which analyzes employee skills. The profile data is collected by software bots. The clients of hiQ's service may learn whether a LinkedIn member is a flight risk thanks to an individual risk score: high (red), medium (yellow) or low (green), according to court papers. LinkedIn is in court fighting this, but so far it's losing. A federal judge recently took exception to the use of the CFAA in this case "to punish hiQ for accessing publicly available data." The judge warned such an interpretation "could profoundly impact open access to the internet."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Vendor Tracks LinkedIn Profile Changes To Alert Client Employers

Comments Filter:
  • by computational super ( 740265 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @04:22PM (#55466099)
    You could always, you know, just... not use LinkedIn.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you are looking for a job, you are probably using LinkedIn.

      • ^^^ This. (Or promoting a side business.)

        I pretty much only touch LinkedIn when/if I want a new job. The recruiters are usually onto me like flies within 24 hours so I know they've got their alerts set.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I've never needed LinkedIn to get a job. The only thing LinkedIn has ever been useful for is getting spammed by LinkedIn.

        If any potential employer requires you to have a LinkedIn account, you don't want to work for them anyways.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If any potential employer requires you to have a LinkedIn account, you don't want to work for them anyways.

          ^^ This.

          LinkedIn is like Facebook. It's there to scrape your data and make money by trafficking in it.

          Just say no.

        • I wonder if hiring managers at Microsoft require you to have a Linked-In account.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's really not necessary. I work in IT. I've had jobs with small 10 man shops up through 100K-employee giants. None of those jobs were obtained due to a LinkedIn profile, which I do not have and never had.

        Don't be so quick to drink the coolaid or put all your eggs in one basket. People were getting jobs just fine before LinkedIn was a thing. Just like you don't require Facebook to talk to your friends, you don't need LinkedIn to get a job.

        • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

          It's really not necessary. I work in IT. I've had jobs with small 10 man shops up through 100K-employee giants. None of those jobs were obtained due to a LinkedIn profile, which I do not have and never had.

          Don't be so quick to drink the coolaid or put all your eggs in one basket. People were getting jobs just fine before LinkedIn was a thing. Just like you don't require Facebook to talk to your friends, you don't need LinkedIn to get a job.

          Depends where you live and how easy it is to find a job. I've never gotten a job directly through LinkedIn myself, but I have a good network and lots of opportunities where I live.

          However, I've helped several former colleagues that live outside of my area get a job at my company through them contacting me about a job through LinkedIn (they all worked at the same company which was shutting down after their division was disbanded after an acquisition). At least one had sent a resume through the normal channe

      • If you are looking for a job, you are probably using LinkedIn.

        I'd rather die homeless and unemployed under a bridge than use LinkedIn.

      • If you are looking for a job, you are probably using LinkedIn.

        But how actively, though? I sure get a lots of calls and leads from LinkedIn, but my activity is pretty much passive, hardly enough for any data mining process to lead to a conclusion of my activities.

        I mean, who uses linkedin actively? Or stackoverflow.com/jobs? Both of which give you automated job reports? Or dice or glassdoor being used anonymously?

        Or how about contributions to github, forking, etc? Many people do that as a way to provide a portfolio for prospective head hunters.

        I can see Keeper

    • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @04:59PM (#55466239)

      You could always, you know, just... not use LinkedIn.

      Excellent Advice... There is no good reason for it. Think of it as a quasi professional Facebook and trust what you read there with an even bigger grain of salt. There is little information there, certainly no information I'd trust.

      I don't want to work for any employer who thinks checking my LinkedIn profile is even part of a background check anyway...

      • It's proven an invaluable way to find references an employee may not have chosen to list, and references who you may know personally and are more likely to give an honest evaluation of the employee's work. It can also be a way to gather information that an employer cannot legally ask for, such as medical information, marital status, age, or religion. That data may be illegal to discriminate with, but that doesn't make it less desirable for many companies hiring purposes. Medical expenses or medical history

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Did you just say, "It is illegal for a company to discriminate against certain things, but it is valuable for them to know it because they can save money if they DO discriminate against these things"?

          • > Did you just say, "It is illegal for a company to discriminate against
            > certain things, but it is valuable for them to know it because
            > they can save money if they DO discriminate against these things"?

            What he probably meant was that a scummy, devious company would probably know that it's a bad idea to actually say that they checked your Facebook/LinkedIn/whatever account and you're "the wrong" race/religion/sexuality/whatever. Instead, they'll check for those things, find them, and send a letter

        • It's proven an invaluable way to find references an employee may not have chosen to list, and references who you may know personally and are more likely to give an honest evaluation of the employee's work.

          This is an extremely bad idea in any state with stalking laws if you choose the wrong person. This alone could get you one year in prison and $2,500 fine where I live. You must not be in HR.

          • Stalking law violations? For checking a public record and reaching out for professional references from mutual acquiantances or former colleagues? That seems extremely unlikely. On what legal basis would this be stalking?

            There are other legal risks. Age, gender or other illegal forms of discrimination can be awkward to avoid. But please do not believe for a moment that recruiters, both internal and through contracting agencies, do not engage in precisely this form of review of candidates, both officially an

      • The HR I've known enough to discuss this sort of internal working say that a web search of prospective hires is standard due diligence. Just to see if any obvious no-noes pop out of the woodwork. FB and LI are very obvious places to check.

        HR people have networks among the companies that candidates typically come from, so while actually blacklists probably don't exist, previous activities at previous employers can rollover...

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by bobbied ( 2522392 )

          Oh, I know they look, but what I was trying to say (and didn't apparently succeed in actually saying) is that any company that depends on what they can find about me online when making hiring decisions is not a place I want to work. Sure, make a quick check online, but don't trust what you see for ANYTHING, good or bad because you have no way of knowing if 1. the information you are seeing is valid and 2. if that information actually applies to the person you think it does. Companies that look for informa

        • I never think to google someone or stalk their social media profiles but everyone I work with does it immediately after getting a resume or meeting someone over the phone. OK...they only do the last one if she sounds hot.

          • Yep, there is no evidence that IT is a hostile workplace for women...

            sigh.

            At the very least you could've said "if she or he sounds hot" so it is an equally predatory environment.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Cough, cough, kind of giving the game away there, the only reason to use Linkedin is to find another job, kind of a red flag right there no analysis needed, just track how often it is updated. HRE (human resources exploitation) can do it themselves direct, also via other social media they can analyse employee political stance and warn employers when their politics goes against the employer to make sure they think right and vote right, as demanded by board. You are free to express your opinion as long as you

    • "The judge warned such an interpretation "could profoundly impact open access to the internet.""

      What is this judge smoking? I like him.

  • Why linked in alone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @04:33PM (#55466131) Journal
    With data consolidation all your public information can be collected and sold, for whatever reason.

    Already credit reporting agencies do it.

    Already all the arrest records and court filings are available for search

    Already people are posting so much about their personal lives in twitter, facebook and other media.

    Already companies are collecting tons of these information and collating them and are willing to sell them.

    So far banks planning lend money and advertisers looking to find customers were the big customers. Corporate HR recruiting and retention is definitely in the market for info. Insurance fraud detectors, bail bondsman, debt collectors and alimoney deadbeat trackers all use these services to some degree or the other. Welcome to the brave new world, folks. Privacy is dead.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      You talk like it's some irresistible force we can do nothing about. Yet your first example, credit reference agencies, are heavily regulated. Around here there are strict limits on what information they can collect and for how long they can report it. Things like old bankruptcies from >7 years ago and spent convictions can't be reported, and it's also illegal for employers and banks to ask or seek to find out.

  • The words we use (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @04:36PM (#55466145) Journal

    "...may learn whether a LinkedIn member is a flight risk"

    Get that? "Flight risk". So now we talk about workers in the same terms that we talk about fugitives or escaped slaves.

    • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @04:41PM (#55466159) Homepage Journal

      "...may learn whether a LinkedIn member is a flight risk"

      Get that? "Flight risk". So now we talk about workers in the same terms that we talk about fugitives or escaped slaves.

      Whaddayamean, "now?"

      As far as I can recall as an employee, especially in big corporations, we've always been talked about like chattel.

      • Human Resources. Not a Personnel Office, not Staff Development, not Employee Support.

        Human Resources. You are humans, and you are a resource for the company to find, use up, and exploit. Maybe a valuable enough resource to conserve and foster, but likely not.

        While some companies are rebranding HR something more positive, I really have to wonder how serious they are about changing the underlying culture of how they treat their employees.

        • by Agripa ( 139780 )

          At least the term "human resource management" is truthful. It is not like Department of Defense or Department of Justice. It used to be the Department of War and courts have nothing to do with justice; they are courts of law.

    • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @05:43PM (#55466459)

      Fine with me. I want my employers to think they might lose me to another company that offers better salary, benefits, and projects. Employers have always tried to persuade me from leaving when I found a better job. I need to learn what changes I need to make to my LinkedIn profile so it triggers warning bells, so I can hopefully get better salary increases without jumping to a new company. Well, assuming I actually worked for someone else. It doesn't matter for the self-employed.

      I've never understood why people are concerned about using LinkedIn. I use it myself without any real concerns. To me, there are two primary reasons for its existence. First, it's a convenient way for me to keep my professional contacts up to date. Second, it's a way to keep my resume online in a place recruiters know where to find it.

      Privacy doesn't really enter into this equation. Go ahead, corporations and head-hunters, data-mine the crap out of my information if you want to. I know that data is valuable to you, and I figure that's a fair trade for the benefits it gives me. That's why it's there in a public place, for all the world to find. LinkedIn, of course, gets their tights in a wad because others are slurping up the public data they're hosting, but it doesn't really affect me at all.

      • Employers have always tried to persuade me from leaving when I found a better job.

        In the past, that was true. But now, if an employer can get forewarning, they can prepare for your departure by lessening their dependence on you.

        • If they are not doing this all the time I don't want to work there. I can't do the same shit over and over.

      • "I need to make to my LinkedIn profile so it triggers warning bells,"

        Pretty much all I cared about after reading the summary. I like to keep them on edge.

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      "...may learn whether a LinkedIn member is a flight risk"

      Get that? "Flight risk". So now we talk about workers in the same terms that we talk about fugitives or escaped slaves.

      That is why it is called "human resource management".

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thomn8r ( 635504 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @04:36PM (#55466147)
    LinkedIn is bitching because other companies are slurping - for free - the personal information that LinkedIn collects - for free.
    • They didn't collect it for free. They built, advertised, and maintained a significant social networking site. The information may be freely given, but it still cost money for the company to collect it.

      If LinkedIn had a meaningful security model, this wouldn't be possible in the first place.

      As much as I hate the dissemination of personal information, I'd prefer LinkedIn to lose this case so that social networks are forced to build secure services.

      Plus, we'd need a legal standard for acceptable scraping if Li

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @04:44PM (#55466175)

    Like many companies, the one I work for monitors their employees' internet usage. One thing they track is employees hitting job listing sites during work hours. No linkedIn or HiQ or anyone else involved. How hard can it be?

    In fact, it's a well-known trick in my company: if you want a quick raise, hit those sites regularly at lunch time, even if you're happy with your job and your salary. Do that for a while, and HR eventually calls you to propose you a better pay package - as if they magically knew you're not completely happy with your current conditions. I've had two pay raises that way, without lifting a finger :)

    • I wonder what happens to your pay package when their internal tracking notices you posting on /.?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        As cheap as Boss Hogg is, I doubt the county has an HR department. His post is all lies.

    • Like many companies, the one I work for monitors their employees' internet usage. One thing they track is employees hitting job listing sites during work hours. No linkedIn or HiQ or anyone else involved. How hard can it be?

      In fact, it's a well-known trick in my company: if you want a quick raise, hit those sites regularly at lunch time, even if you're happy with your job and your salary. Do that for a while, and HR eventually calls you to propose you a better pay package - as if they magically knew you're not completely happy with your current conditions. I've had two pay raises that way, without lifting a finger :)

      Interesting.

      A friend of mine told me that their employer blocked access to the job sites at the router level, forcing people to use their phone minutes. When he complained to IT, the IT guy told him it was a service to the employees so that management wouldn't bother them because they were looking for other jobs.

    • We just leave job site tabs open in our browser as a standard practice. CIO walks by, does a double-take and screams: "What the FUCK!" "Dude, you are not happy?"

      • Just to screw with a former boss (I still work there, he's retired) I wore a suit to work (normally jeans and a company t-shirt) and "accidentally" printed a resume to his printer in his office, and casually told him I'd be taking a long lunch.

        Of course, it was on April 1st of that year... did have him going for a bit.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...to punish hiQ for accessing publicly available data." The judge warned such an interpretation "could profoundly impact open access to the internet."

    Huh. This judge actually thought about it before doing something idiotic involving the internet. If you can get to something just by pointing your browser (or curl!) there, then it's publicly published and you can't expect someone else not to see it just because that might be at odds with your business model.

    If you don't want your data to show up on LinkedIn, don't put it there. If you do want it, then go ahead, but don't complain when people see what you put online for the world to see. That's the who

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      Terms of service violations are violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, right?

      I thought it was suppose to be good that companies can write criminal law.

  • by Jfetjunky ( 4359471 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @04:48PM (#55466187)
    I mean, unless you work for a soul-less corporation who will preemptively can you because you are a "flight risk", how's this bad for employees? If you truly are a good performer or marketable, sounds like this will just make companies step up if they want to keep you around (if they choose to use it, which they obviously don't have to).
    • I used to encourage the people in my group to maintain a current CV. Of course, that was when the company was taking a nose dive.
    • It's a fools errand to try and keep an employee who has started looking for other work, even if they seem irreplaceable. There is little the employer can do to stop the move. Chances are employees who are looking to leave, will, regardless of what you do. Best you can do is assist the employee with a smooth transition and hopefully get them to honestly tell you why they are making the choice to leave.

      It's also a bad idea for an employee to make ANY obvious moves about their desire to leave. Don't tell any

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The correct way of handling it from the employers end is to make sure that you're properly compensating employees and that you're not over-relying on some employees.

        Which, quite honestly is just competent management practices. If you're leaning on a handful of poorly compensated employees you're asking for trouble. It's not just other companies poaching employees, what happens if one of them gets hit by a bus or is diagnosed with cancer or work related health problems? If you haven't spread the responsibili

        • Also, if one of your solid people leave they can suck away a few others or the others just don't like working there anymore because that person was holding shit together on a social and operational level.

        • But.. My point is that if you have an employee that's announced they are leaving the best course is to let them go. There is no upside in making an effort to keep them if they already announced they are leaving, just let them go and take your lumps, you apparently earned them.

          Best you can do is learn from the departure and take steps to keep others from following. So if your prized employee is leaving for a 50% raise, it might be a good time to take a look at your salary structure. If they don't like man

    • It's usable as a meta-analysis of various insider corporate information. As middle and upper management update their resumes before a corporate layoff or merger is announced, it can also indicate which levels of a company have been informed of the upcoming changes in personnel.

    • On the other side of the rainbow you have corporations that wouldn't be able to find escaping employees if they even tried. Once, a company I worked for tried to recruit a guy they just fired.

  • I just closed my LinkedIn account, because of this article.
    • by jtalle ( 723567 )
      Thinking about it a bit, this is where my data posted on LinkedIn is being weaponized against me.
    • I'm concerned about social media data gathering on a much larger level and have been considering shutting them all down. FaceBook has really gone off the deep end and the media is preventing a rational discourse on the matter since they depend on them for traffic. BBC wouldn't even let people say "FaceBook" today when discussing the talks on capitol hill and stuck closely to the narrative labeling the problem as Russian meddling in US elections when the real issue is the over-the-top data collection and A

  • People who make this type of software are a boil on the ass of this planet.
  • Never had any sensible job offer through that one. A few really shitty ones. Hence I haven't updated my profile for several years now.

    Ditching it altogether has come one tick closer.

You have junk mail.

Working...