LinkedIn execs downplay Intro security controversy

LinkedIn execs downplay Intro security controversy

Summary: "We recognize the current climate and sensitivity around products like this," admitted LinkedIn's CEO.

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LinkedIn's Q3 report didn't inspire the kind of confidence in investors that the social network likely wanted. Part of that has to be due to the weak outlook for the fourth quarter.

Another reason is likely the growing number of security and privacy worries surrounding one of LinkedIn's newest products, Intro.

Unveiled last Wednesday in San Francisco, the plugin reroutes user information publicly available on LinkedIn for immediate reference within the iPhone Mail app inbox. The service was designed to support most major email clients, including Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and AOL Mail as well as iCloud and Google Apps.

However, LinkedIn found itself quickly on the defensive over security and privacy concerns.

During Wednesday's conference call, CEO Jeff Weiner responded diplomatically to a question about initial feedback about the feature, declaring that the first round of users are already getting "great results" and "see value" in the product.

"We recognize the current climate and sensitivity around products like this," Weiner acknowledged, adding that LinkedIn developers are working to ensure Intro is as "safe as possible."

Instead, Weiner portrayed Intro as a potential remedy to the standard inbox, a hot topic at the moment with countless media and analyst reports questioning if email is broken.

"If you look at the history of the inbox, despite the fact there's been a lot of investment in...collaboration tools, the structure of the inbox has largely remained the same," Weiner remarked.

He continued that many professionals spend "a disproportionate amount of time" on email, suggesting here was an opportunity to integrate LinkedIn profile information to free up some of that wasted time.

Made possible through the acquisition of browser plugin startup Rapportive last year, Weiner also revealed that Intro has been in place for use internally at LinkedIn for several months now.

Topics: Security, Apps, Privacy, Social Enterprise, Web development

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  • . . . and they decided to develop the product anyways.

    ""We recognize the current climate and sensitivity around products like this,"

    . . . and they decided to develop the product anyways. Yeah, whatever. All of these businesses are the same - never question the product itself, just the implementation.

    "a hot topic at the moment with countless media and analyst reports questioning if email is broken."

    Although that particular article I disagreed with, because the fault in that particular case was that he had subscribed to too much stuff, which is hardly the fault of the email client.

    But I *would* agree with the claim that email is broken. We absolutely have the tech to encrypt and digitally sign stuff, but we never do. It's crazy insecure, yet we do very sensitive stuff on it like use it to reset passwords. Frankly, I'm surprised it's held up at all.
    CobraA1