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Terry Chay/Flickr

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LinkedIn this week sued to stop a wave of unidentified competitors from allegedly siphoning off user profile information with the intent to create a rival recruiting service.

According to the suit that was filed in the Federal Court for the Northern California District this week, unknown persons have been “employing various automated software programs (often referred to as ‘bots’)” to register thousands of fake LinkedIn profiles on the service. In so doing, LinkedIn said, the outsiders have managed to scrape data from profile pages of its members. The suit was first reported by GigaOm.

The intent is for the outsiders to use that data to ultimately establish their own “competing recruiting websites and usurp LinkedIn’s Recruiter product,” according to the filing.

Along with charges of misappropriation of LinkedIn content, the company’s suit also claims the defendants had broken the LinkedIn user agreement and were therefore in breach of contract while accessing other user profiles on the site. LinkedIn has also lodged claims of computer fraud, as well as violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

“We’re a members-first organization and we feel we have a responsibility to protect the control that our members have over the information they put on LinkedIn,” a LinkedIn spokeswoman told Re/code.

While LinkedIn is seeking a cease-and-desist order along with restitution and damages for the defendants’ previous actions, the company also said it would be filing discovery requests to Amazon’s Web Services division, which LinkedIn said hosts the unidentified parties’ efforts.

Read the rest of the filing here.

(Image courtesy of Terry Chay/Flickr)




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