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LinkedIn sued after Apple's iOS 14 beta catches the app reading users' clipboards without permission

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LinkedIn hit with lawsuit after Apple’s iOS 14 beta catches the app reading users’ clipboards without permission

  • LinkedIn is being sued after it’s app was found reading users’ clipboards
  • The suit is from a LinkedIn user in New York and being heard in a San Francisco federal court
  • It also alleges that LinkedIn could read clipboard information from other Apple devices and was circumventing rules that erase clipboard data within a time limit
  • LinkedIn was one of many apps outed by Apple’s iOS 14 

LinkedIn is being sued by one iPhone user in New York after revelations that the company’s iPhone app was reading users’ clipboards.

The class-action lawsuit, filed by Adam Bauer in a San Francisco federal court, alleges that LinkedIn’s practice of reading information copied to a user’s clipboard, specifically doing so without permission, is a violation of the law or social norms in California.  

LinkedIn’s iOS app was one of more than 50 exposed by a beta version of Apple’s iOS 14 which notifies users when their clipboards are being copied and asks for permission. 

LinkedIn is being sued after its app was found reading users' clipboards by Apple's iOS 14 (stock)

LinkedIn is being sued after its app was found reading users’ clipboards by Apple’s iOS 14 (stock)

The lawsuit also alleges that LinkedIn circumvented Apple’s automatic clipboard timeout that erases contents after a set amount of time. 

According to Apple’s website, the Universal Clipboard, which is the tool apps like LinkedIn have been viewing, allows users to copy text, images, photos, and videos on one Apple device and then paste the information onto another Apple device.

As a result, Bauer’s lawsuit also alleges that LinkedIn may be able to see information from nearby devices like a MacBook computer.    

LinkedIn has since changed code in its app that automatically copy clipboard information according to the company.  

According to prior statement from Erran Berger, vice president of Engineering and Consumer Products at LinkedIn, the professional networking service was performing ‘equality checks’ to see if a link corresponded to what a user was typing.

LinkedIn didn’t elaborate on the purpose of that code at the time. 

Among the other high-profile apps discovered looking at clipboard information is Reddit, which said that it was using information to suggest a post title based on the contents of a URL. 

Reddit’s app was reportedly causing iOS beta users to receive notifications after every keystroke.

Reddit said that it does not store or send the contents of clipboards. 

‘We tracked this down to a codepath in the post composer that checks for URLs in the pasteboard and then suggests a post title based on the text contents of the URL,’ a Reddit spokesperson told The Verge. 

‘We do not store or send the pasteboard contents. We removed this code and are releasing the fix on July 14th.’  

Reddit is now among the apps being recorded by an iOS 14 privacy feature for copying information in users' clipboards (stock)

Reddit is now among the apps being recorded by an iOS 14 privacy feature for copying information in users’ clipboards (stock) 

‘…We’ve traced this to a code path that only does an equality check between the clipboard contents and the currently typed content in a text box. We don’t store or transmit the clipboard contents,’ wrote Berger in a tweet.

Revelations about Reddit and LinkedIn follow similar instances relating to the social media giant, TikTok, which was found accessing clipboard information earlier this month. 

The company said it will discontinue that practice and said that its feature was and ‘anti-spam’ measure. 

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