As students return to school, they’re increasingly noting the migration of Lynda.com accounts to the Microsoft-owned LinkedIn learning. Though the process has been underway for a while now, some universities and libraries have taken the summer break to finalize the switch.

LinkedIn purchased Lydna.com in 2015, while Microsoft’s acquisition of the professional network began in 2016. However, while universities and enterprises are able to opt-out of LinkedIn account creation for the switch, libraries have no choice.

This is causing some concerns. Some feel that Microsoft is using its learning service to push users into a LinkedIn account when they have no interest in the platform. As well as this, the change could have privacy implications. While users were able to log into Lynda.com with just their library card and PIN, a LinkedIn profile requires a First Name, Last Name, and email address. Though users can make their profile unsearchable, some will be unaware of that functionality.

Privacy Concerns

After criticism from the American Library Association, LinkedIn doubled down on its decision. A LinkedIn spokesperson told ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley:

“A LinkedIn account is required to access LinkedIn Learning. Profiles help us to authenticate that users are real people and help to ensure we give our members a safe, trusted environment to interact with others and learn. A LinkedIn profile is optional for our corporate and higher education customers as they offer authentication solutions that are very difficult to compromise.”

As students head back to school, they’ll note the switch to a different platform, but most will sign in using their existing student credentials. As the identity of each student is verified in one way or another when they sign up for school, this is assumedly enough authentication for LinkedIn.

However, it’s worth noting that universities don’t have a particularly strong reputation when it comes to security. Over the past few years, there have been a number of high-profile data breaches, particularly in the UK. In some cases, student login systems have insecure credentials, with default usernames and passwords based on year of attendance and date of birth.

LinkedIn has made several upgrades to its privacy and security in recent times after it exposed user information via its autofill plugin and Lynda.com. As well as cracking down on fake accounts, it introduced fingerprint authentication and blocked email exporting.