3 Things You Need to Know About How LinkedIn's Calendar Works

Reports last week revealed that LinkedIn collects meeting information --including phone numbers and sensitive meeting notes -- if you turn on the iOS app's calendar feature. LinkedIn sets the record straight, making three important clarifications.

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Wed, June 13, 2012

CIO — News broke last week that LinkedIn's mobile app for iOS devices was collecting full meeting notes—including meeting locations, participants, dial-in information and passwords—without your knowledge.

While the feature to connect your calendar to the LinkedIn app is opt-in, privacy groups complained that there was no dialogue or explicit permission alerting you to how your information is gathered and stored. Last week, LinkedIn also experienced a breach in which 6.5 million user passwords were compromised.

LinkedIn responded to the reports, saying the calendar information that's transmitted is not shared or stored on its servers.

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"In order to provide our calendar service to those who choose to use it, we need to send information about your calendar events to our servers so we can match people with LinkedIn profiles. That information is sent securely over SSL and we never share or store your calendar information.

In an effort to make that algorithm for matching people with profiles increasingly smarter we pull the complete calendar event, including email addresses of people you are meeting with, meeting subject, location and meeting notes.

Acknowledging the backlash from users, LinkedIn outlined what the app does and doesn't do, and it also described the measures it's taking to improve the feature. Here's what you need to know.

1. The LinkedIn calendar option is opt-in. LinkedIn stresses that it does ask your permission before accessing your calendar, which it says will continue to be an opt-in feature. Turning off the calendar feature, too, is simple: Navigate to your settings and click the button from on to off.

2. LinkedIn does not store any calendar information on its servers. LinkedIn sends calendar data to its server only when the LinkedIn app is launched. The social network says this is to match relevant LinkedIn profiles to the meeting attendees. The calendar data is sent to its servers of a secure SSL connection.

LinkedIn also says that it does not "under any circumstances" access your calendar data unless you have explicitly opted in to sync your calendar.

3. LinkedIn has updated the way the feature works. Based on user feedback, LinkedIn says that it will no longer send data from the meeting notes section of your calendar event.

Also, in an effort to educate users about the calendar feature, LinkedIn will add a new "learn more" link to provide information about how your calendar data is being used.

The changes were submitted to the Apple store last week and will be available soon, according to LinkedIn. Updates are currently live on Android.

Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and enterprise collaboration for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at kburnham@cio.com

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