LinkedIn has announced a few updates to their Terms of Service which are important to note for users - both in terms of the immediate privacy implications and the functions the changes are designed to facilitate.
First off, LinkedIn is going to start sharing your LinkedIn profile information with more third party providers.
"Similar to the way your profile shows up in search engines, we will allow certain third-party services to show your profile to their users, so that you can be more easily found for opportunities and connect with people. You can opt out of this broader distribution of your profile, and you control what you share on your profile."
Which third parties, exactly, are not specified, though you'd suspect it relates to more recruitment portals and employment systems, possibly via their new owners, Microsoft. LinkedIn has a range of data access deals in place, so this change is not likely to add anything major, though it'll be interesting to see if they come out with any further announcements around discoverability off platform, and how any related system might work.
LinkedIn's also opening the gates for their new authorship-type tool, which they outlined in a recent presentation at an @Scale event.
"To make it easier to update your profile, we'll look for and suggest positive and public professional accomplishments, like awards or industry recognition, to share with your network. You can opt out if you decide you don't want these recommendations."
At @Scale, LinkedIn Engineer Xiaoqiang Luo outlined how their system would be able to scan the web for documents authored by LinkedIn members, then suggest that those members showcase them on their profiles.
This change to their terms will enable this to happen, giving them more license to use your information to find relevant information which you may like to add or share.
LinkedIn's also covering their use of automated message response prompts and bots, with a change to their terms in relation to how your data is used for such tools.
"You can opt-in to use our automated systems that can help you with messages by suggesting responses, assisting in scheduling meetings with connections, generating ice breakers, or offering insights to help you connect with other professionals more easily."
Another change relates to an upcoming feature which will help you find nearby LinkedIn members who you may want to meet up with, maybe at a conference or event. The tool will likely use location tracking, similar to Facebook's recent addition of live location-sharing in Messenger - though maybe not to that level. The extended notes specify that users will need to opt-in to this feature, and that you'll be able to control how long your location is shared.
LinkedIn's also made some smaller refinements to their User Agreement, including the specification that LinkedIn members outside the US will now be governed by Irish law, rather than California law. That change is no doubt designed to protect the privacy of non-U.S. citizens - you can read a full summary of the User Agreement changes here.
A couple of interesting changes and notes, and hints at functionality to come. It'll be interesting to see how these new tools develop now that the path is cleared for them to go ahead.