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LinkedIn, like TikTok, copies data from iOS clipboard, but says it's a mistake

LinkedIn iOS app on an iPhone
(Image credit: mrmohock / Shutterstock.com)

LinkedIn, like TikTok, admitted that is has been regularly accessing data temporarily held on the clipboards of unsuspecting iOS users, according to a report by ZDNet

This clipboard copying was uncovered by a user who was testing out the beta version of iOS 14, and it seems to be an issue in the social network's iPhone and iPad apps.

A new privacy feature in the iOS 14 beta notifies users if an app or service accesses text on their clipboards. 

Last week, we reported that TikTok had been apparently been accessing the iOS clipboard, sometimes as frequently as with every new word typed.

The Chinese viral-video sensation had come under fire for the privacy issue earlier this year as well, but at the time its parent company ByteDance denied allegations made by security researchers. 

The iOS clipboard can be read by any app, which is exactly how clipboards are supposed to work. 

Nonetheless, that creates a privacy risk, according to two researchers who issued a study back in March. The study paper listed several dozen apps that were found copying data from the iOS clipboard, including The New York Times, CBS News, Bejeweled, Accuweather and Overstock.com.

Caught red-handed

Now, it seems more companies are doing the same thing. Donald Morton, the CEO and founder of Urspace, a job-portfolio website in Los Angeles, wrote on Twitter yesterday (June 2) that he had been using an iPad Pro and received a notification that LinkedIn had copied data from the clipboard of his MacBook Pro. 

“LinkedIn is copying the contents of my clipboard every keystroke. IOS 14 allows users to see each paste notification,” Morton tweeted. “I’m on an IPad Pro and it’s copying from the clipboard of my MacBook Pro. Tik tok (sic) just got called out for this exact reason.”

Morton said he saw the Reddit app on his iPad doing the same thing. (UPDATE: Reddit told The Verge that it was fixing the app so this would no longer happen.)

Fixing the issue

A spokesperson for LinkedIn told ZDNet that this behavior was the result of a bug and had not been a planned functionality of its iOS app.

Erran Berger, VP of engineering of consumer products at LinkedIn, responded to Morton on Twitter, promising that the firm would solve the bug. 

“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,” Berger tweeted. “We don't store or transmit the clipboard contents. We will follow up once the fix is live in our app.”

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