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​LinkedIn Security Warning

New LinkedIn application: ‘INTRO’

This application must not under any circumstances be used with a University email account. The University is keen to encourage innovation, however a clear risk has been identified to the privacy of students, staff and others who engage with us if the INTRO App is used in conjunction with a University email account.

How does INTRO work?

INTRO will divert all email sent and received from the email account that is used with LinkedIn. If INTRO has access to your University email account and you have emails that contain personal data of students and/or staff, you will then be sharing the personal information of others with a third party i.e. LinkedIn. The INTRO application scans all emails to understand contextually who people are communicating with; these emails pass through LinkedIn as a ‘middle-man’ who will hold that information, for an undefined period of time.

Why is the University concerned about this?

The Data Protection Act 1998 sets out how personal data is to be processed. The use of INTRO in conjunction with a University email account could lead to these breaches of the Act:

  • Personal data must be fairly and lawfully processed. Students and staff would have no reasonable expectation that their personal data would be made available to LinkedIn and used by them and there would be no lawful reason to share personal data with a third party.
  • Where the servers in question are hosted out with the European Economic Area, the strict requirements for the international transfer of personal data would not be met.

In addition, where members of staff pass e-mail communications to LinkedIn via the INTRO application this could amount to “knowingly or recklessly” obtaining or disclosing personal data, for which significant penalties can be imposed on the University and individuals.

Can I still use LinkedIn?
Staff and Students are free to use their University email address with LinkedIn, provided the INTRO application is not enabled.

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