LinkedIn’s Commitment to Transparency About Government Requests for Member Data

September 17, 2013

Our core value at LinkedIn is Members First. We’re committed to earning and keeping your trust in everything we do.

At LinkedIn, we have a high bar when it comes to responding to government requests for member data. We scrutinize and evaluate every request, and only provide data when we believe we’re legally required to, or in emergency situations. We also take steps to let members know before turning over their data, unless we’re legally prohibited to do so or the request is an emergency.

Our goal is to be as open as possible about government requests for member data. This is why, since 2011, we’ve published a report called the Transparency Report every six months that tells our members how many requests for member data we receive from governments around the world, the number of member accounts impacted and the percentage of requests we respond to. Today, we’re publishing our Transparency Report for the first 6 months of 2013.

Unfortunately, our Transparency Report doesn’t include requests related to U.S. national security-related matters. This is because the U.S. government prohibits us from doing so. We believe our members and the LinkedIn community deserve to know this information, especially in light of recent revelations about the nature of U.S. government surveillance. We’ve been in discussions with the U.S. government for months in an effort to convince them to allow us to release these numbers as part of our Transparency Report and these discussions recently reached an impasse.

Despite our best efforts, we are still prohibited from sharing information about national security-related requests in a way that’s meaningful to our members and community.  So we’re left with no choice but to file legal challenges to the U.S. government’s position.

If you’d like more information, please read my letter to the LinkedIn community.

We’ll continue to advocate for these principles of transparency and openness on behalf of our members.