San Jose: A library in the US has locked horns with Microsoft-owned job seeking app LinkedIn over privacy concerns after the latter began demanding personal information of people who wished to access its online classes on the platform.
Citing information breach concerns, the Director of San Jose Public Library, Jill Bourne, has decided that if LinkedIn does not continue to allow library patrons to access its online classes confidentially and under its former name -- Lynda.com -- the library would have to drop the service, San Jose Spotlight reported on Thursday.
Lynda.com was founded in 1995 by digital special effects animator Lynda Weinman as an online support system for her books and lectures. In 2002, Lynda.com started offering online courses which were accessible to card holders by signing into the library's website using their card number and a PIN.
In 2015, LinkedIn acquired the site with the intention of bringing it under its umbrella and re-branded it as LinkedIn Learning. Now that the transition is nearly complete, the app would soon start requiring users to create a LinkedIn account to access the service in September.
Giving LinkedIn the permission to access the personal information of users, according to Bourne, creates "a clash of values and perspectives on individual privacy", the report said.
Addressing the issues, Mike Derezin, Vice President of learning solution at LinkedIn said in a blog-post that the app's "commitment to you is that protecting our members' trust and data is our first priority and guiding principle".
Once a user has created a profile, library users would immediately be able to alter privacy settings according to their preferences, the report quoted Andrea Roberts, a senior LinkedIn communications manager, as saying.
"We are listening very closely to libraries, but at this time we do not have plans to change our policy," she added.
However, Bourne says that patrons rely on libraries to respect confidentiality and cannot be expected to understand what is at risk or how to protect their privacy.
The library director is firm that if LinkedIn does not change course, the San Jose Public Library will find an alternative source for its patrons to take online learning courses.