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As you may or may not have already heard, LinkedIn recently added a new "feature" that allows them to use your name and image in their advertising. It is turned on by default, with no direct notification to the user that it has been added and activated.

This is an abuse of your trust. It is wrong.

You have authorized LinkedIn to do a certain set of things with your data, but they have gone and done something else with it; something to which you haven't consented. It is as though someone had asked to borrow your car to go grocery shopping but then took it bar-hopping instead.

It would be bad enough for any website to do this, but LinkedIn isn't just any social networking site -- it's a professional networking forum. Your presence on it is a living résumé. LinkedIn is the custodian of your professional reputation. Shouldn't they be handling it a little more respectfully than this?

What they should have done is to ask first, with the default being 'no'. Presumably, they knew that most people would either answer no if presented with this choice, or not answer at all -- thus removing the majority of their user base from this program and largely eliminating the additional ad revenue it would bring. This is a move that smacks of desperation; of a company that is ruthlessly trying to wring every possible cent of ad revenue out of its subscriber base.

I'm participating in one event that's using LinkedIn to organize, but after it's done, so is my LinkedIn account.

Thanks for coming out, LinkedIn.

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I've got the front page of StickyMinds.com this week with a column on Ethics & Software Testing.

I would have loved to delve more into the foundations of ethical thinking and some of the ideas people have articulated about how to best "solve" ethical dilemmas, but the length and focus of the piece doesn't really permit. Maybe that's something for the future. =)

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Rick Scott

Who?

Canadian philosopher-geek who's profoundly interested in how we can collaborate to make technology work better for everyone. He's an incorrigible idealist, an open source contributor, and a staunch believer in testing, universal access, and the hacker ethic.

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