Manhattan Woman Wants Tighter LinkedIn Security

Users can't block specific people from accessing their information

By Chris Glorioso and Tom Burke
|  Tuesday, Apr 3, 2012  |  Updated 7:19 AM EDT
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Maintaining privacy online while keeping a web presence for business and social networking purposes is a balance that more and more New Yorkers struggle to strike. Alina Braverman has had trouble with LinkedIn. Chris Glorioso reports.

Maintaining privacy online while keeping a web presence for business and social networking purposes is a balance that more and more New Yorkers struggle to strike. Alina Braverman has had trouble with LinkedIn. Chris Glorioso reports.

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Maintaining privacy on the Internet while keeping a web presence for business and social networking purposes is a balance New Yorkers increasingly struggle to strike.

One popular networking site, LinkedIn, doesn’t allow members to block individuals -- and that's causing a problem for a Manhattan woman who says she doesn't want a specific user to access her information.

"This is not someone that I want to keep in contact with on any level, whether it's business or personal," Alina Braverman said.

She is fighting LinkedIn to allow her to block the person.

LinkedIn offers a solution in which she can make her profile invisible, but Braverman says there is a catch.

"If I make myself invisible, I make myself invisible to everyone,” said Braverman. “No one can find me, and for a long time, if you're job-searching or freelancing, that's detrimental to your livelihood."

David Jacobs, a consumer privacy fellow, says he believes it is in the interest of LinkedIn to let users control how their information is disclosed.

“Facebook and Google are able to do it, and they’re obviously profitable. I think LinkedIn could do it as well,” said Jacobs, of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group that opposes websites' sharing excessive amounts of member information.

Jacobs believes LinkedIn could implement a privacy tool, similar to Facebook, that would allow users to block specific people.

Braverman said she has reached out to LinkedIn and has written to the company’s co-founder.

"I've asked them repeatedly to take a look at this issue. I've asked them to implement a feature to allow me to block him," said Braverman.

The company said in a statement that members can adjust their privacy settings, including types of messages they wish to receive and who can send invitations.

The statement from LinkedIn did not address blocking specific users.

Not every user will have access to all of a member's content on LinkedIn. The site offers tiered services where individual users can pay for additional access, including the privilege of looking at and commenting on others profiles.

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