Recently, Sell Hack, a browser plugin for the Google Chrome browser made quite a noise in the social networking arena. The email addresses of LinkedIn users was easily exposed via this web browser add-on tool. Made available as free extension for the Chrome browser, all one had to do was to download the plugin and install it on his/her machine and click “Hack In” button, popping up on LinkedIn profiles. And, with the click of a button, one could view the email address associated with the account, even if the account’s not a connected one.
The plugin, thus exposed email addresses of all the LinkedIn users, leading to the issues of emails being flooded with spams. LikedIn intended to take legal action over the plug-in and also advised the users to uninstall the plugin. The Sell Hack team however was trying to maintain integrity all the while. They defended themselves saying the tool was created for marketing professionals and argued that all the data pulled for making email addresses were already publicly visible.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn responded saying, “We are doing everything we can to shut Sell Hack down. On March 31, LinkedIn’s legal team has delivered Sell Hack a cease and desist letter as a result of several violations.” They also added, “The members should “use caution” before downloading any third-party extension or app.”
However, as of now, the need for legal actions are all but over after the Sell Hack team has taken down the “Hack In” tool. This was confirmed in a blog post on Tuesday, in which Sell Hack wrote that the plug-in will no longer work with the LinkedIn pages. They also confirmed that they had a cease and desist letter delivered by LinkedIn, on March 31. Surprisingly, the case might not be closed forever as it looks. Sell Hack has said they are working on better things. However, they have assured that the product will not conflict with LinkedIn’s terms of service.
What do you think of this amazing story? Do you think there will be more of such “Hack Ins” in future? Leave your thoughts as comments below.