Jul 202015

We live in a digital age.  We had better understand the implications.

I do not like this.   You may wish to share, so others will know how it works.  It applies between Google’s Gmail and a different entity, LinkedIn.   I do not know if there are other instances.   If I am wrong,  let Google explain.

It is not a  “so what?!”.


I received an email in November 2014, see Message from Dan Morgan, request to add  him to my LinkedIn network.   Dan Morgan is the American author of “Merchants of Grain“.    A phone call confirmed, as I suspected, he had not sent a request to me.

But how did LinkedIn connect him to me?   The riddle was solved when I stumbled across an email from 2010.

This comes at a time when I am reading “The Age of Cryptocurrency” (encrypted currency or secure, anonymous, electronic money).

 Page 47:.

But all those who used their knowledge in a bid to enact social change saw cryptography as a tool to enhance individual privacy and to shift power from big, central institutions to the human beings who live in their orbit.  

(I think of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, but this was even before their time.)

Page 50

Guided by the principle that in the digital age protecting privacy would be crucial for maintaining an open society, the Cypherpunks set their active minds to creating tools to allow people to maintain anonymity.


A few years ago I tried repeatedly to get my profile removed from “LinkedIn” social media.

When I received requests like the one from Dan,  I contacted the person to explain that I do not participate in LinkedIn.    . . . .    But then . . .   hmmm . . .  did the person who originated the request ACTUALLY  initiate a request to join my LinkedIn network (that I don’t actually have)?   Something seemed kind of fishy even though using the Dan Morgan example,  the email I received says:

From: Dan Morgan [mailto:member@linkedin.com

As mentioned, Dan Morgan, like some others I contacted, had not sent a request to join my LinkedIn network.


I can see a link between work I have done (crop production, Canadian Wheat Board)  and Dan’s book, “Merchants of Grain”.   But how would LinkedIn make the connection?

As you will see below, LinkedIn has access to the content of your Gmail account (if you have one).   Gmail is a Google product;  Google is a “big institution”!

I looked to see if Google owns LinkedIn.   The answer is no.   (2011)   LinkedIn Goes Public But Who Owns The Biggest Slice Of The Pie?  

Dan:  LinkedIn got access to all my “contacts”, which includes every email I have ever sent or received — then sent out “invitations” to all of them unbeknownst to me.

The access has to be to both “contacts” and emails sent and received, because people do not keep everyone in their “contacts” file.


Dan Morgan had suggested on the phone back in November 2014, that he and I must have exchanged emails or something similar that caused LinkedIn to make the connection.   I have known of Dan’s book for a long time, but could not recall being in contact with him.

By accident, 8 months later I stumbled on a brief email exchange we had back in 2010.  5 years ago.   Mystery solved.    . . .   Funny,  I am not experiencing my usual elation at solving a riddle!   All I can say is, “Bless and support the cryptographers,  the ones who recognized two and three decades ago, where internet technology would take us.  And the associated dangers for open society.”

I get especially nervous when I see the impunity with which lies and manipulations manufactured in this case, by LinkedIn by way of Gmail (Google),  affect me directly.  I don’t even have to “imagine” it! 

Googling around discloses that LinkedIn creates profiles that the person themself has not erected on LinkedIn.  (http://appmagma.com/hey-linkedin-nobody-wants-this/)  LinkedIn then uses that profile to decoy others into signing up for LinkedIn.

But it goes beyond that.   The notice sent by LinkedIn to me is an actual lie.  It says that Dan Morgan sent the email.   He did not.   And LinkedIn accessed private email messages to construct the connection.  None of this is right, not in an open and democratic society.

I do not have a gmail account  (Dan Morgan does). And I hate the new Outlook software that keeps trying to make me sign up for Microsoft’s “OneAccount”.


I wish to share my exchange with Dan, so others will at least know the way in which their information is used.

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On Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 7:09 PM, Sandra Finley wrote:

Dear Dan Morgan,

I am from Saskatchewan.  Your book Merchants of Grain is still treated as a piece of holy scripture!

Can you tell me:  is The Merchants of Grain published in 2000 the same as was published in the 1980’s?  I would like to send the most current edition to Manfred Ladwig in Germany.  The copy I have is a 1980 publication date.  Do I need to find a copy with a 2000 publication date?

Manfred is a documentary filmmaker for German Public Television.  I met Manfred a few years ago when he came here in relation to a documentary on GM crops.  He subsequently did a documentary on Monsanto.

Manfred is now working on the Grain Corporations.  He writes:

I prepare a story about corporate power at the example of the world wheat trade: my story line follows this keywords: wheat from food to commodity: corporate influence (the big so calledABCD`s: ADM,Bunge,Cargill,Dreyfuß) prices of bread, feeding the world, hunger. I know- a big task, but I try to tell something about the real power in the background. Is there anybody you know as an insider of those big TNC`s (especially ADM and Cargill), who by the way own our german wheat importing companies?

Also, maybe you would be a good person for Manfred to talk with?  and so I am sending this email to connect you to each other, “just in case”.

I was in touch with Brewster Kneen who wrote Invisible Giant (Cargill) – see appended.  Brewster feels that he is now out-dated in his information base.   He recommended Mary Hendrickson at the University of Missouri whom I emailed, but have not heard back from.

I will repeat Manfred’s question to you:

Is there anybody you know as an insider of those big TNC`s (especially ADM and Cargill), who by the way own our german wheat importing companies?


Thank-you for your journalistic and other efforts to create an informed citizenry.  We may yet find our way back to democracy!   I increasingly use “corporatocracy” to describe our current form of Government.

Best wishes,

Sandra Finley

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From: Dan Morgan  Sent: February 5, 2010 7:30 PM    To: Sandra Finley   Subject: Re: Merchants of Grain – for German Public Broadcasting Documentary

the latest version of the book is the same as the original..  it has not been updated. glad there is still interest..

I believe a Senate committee recently put out a report on the manipulation of the wheat market by outside speculators — mainly commodity index funds — in 2008.

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THEN, IN NOVEMBER 2014, I RECEIVE   Message from Dan Morgan, request to add  him to my LinkedIn network.

I tracked down his phone number and asked:  Did you send this request? , , ,   The answer is no.   We had a short discussion.

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From: Sandra Finley  Sent: July 19, 2015 1:05 PM    To: Dan Morgan   Subject: FW: Merchants of Grain – for German Public Broadcasting Documentary

Hello Dan Morgan,

I phoned you a couple months ago to inquire if you had requested to be connected to me through “LinkedIn”.   (I had received a notice from LinkedIn that you had.)  Your answer was “no”.

The appended email exchange with you from Feb 2010, which I came across today, probably answers the question of how it is that LinkedIn technology was able to generate a message to me, connected to you.

The question is how they obtained access to a private exchange.

Best wishes,

Sandra Finley

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From: Sandra Finley   Sent: July 19, 2015 1:37 PM   To: Dan Morgan   Subject: (2 of 2) The answer re LinkedIn is gmail account ?

Hi again Dan,

Sorry to bother you.    I googled because other people must be experiencing the same re LinkedIn.

From this URL, I gather that LinkedIn has access to GMAIL accounts.   It would explain how it is that LinkedIn generated a request by (not) you to connect with me.



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From: Dan Morgan  Sent: July 19, 2015 1:26 PM   To: Sandra Finley    Subject: Re: FW: Merchants of Grain – for German Public Broadcasting Documentary

Sandra, thanks for your msg.. it appears that LinkedIn got access to all my “contacts”, which includes every email I have ever sent or received — then sent out “invitations” to all of them unbeknownst to me. This is how they jack up their numbers for the benefit of Wall Street, I suppose.

sorry to have bothered you..

right now I am at work on a major project involving the development of the U.S. biofuels industry.. haven’t looked much at Canada, but I should.. interesting stuff.

— Dan Morgan

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =



Invisible Giant: Cargill and Its Transnational Strategies, Second Edition by Brewster Kneen. Pluto Press/UBC Press, 2002, 222 pages

Brewster Kneen writes: “When Pluto Press asked me to produce a second edition of Invisible Giant, I was shocked and  amazed at the changes I found since the first edition appeared in 1995. Not only had the number of global corporate players shrunk alarmingly, but they have virtually eliminated competition between themselves through complementary strategies and business activities while at the same time forming joint ventures and partnerships amongst themselves, again to reduce the inefficiencies of competition.

Cargill has played this game with great skill and dedication. Its reward last year was sales of US$51 billion derived from having some component of just about everything we eat pass through its hands at some point in its journey from farm to supermarket.

My purpose in writing this book is not, however, to overwhelm the reader-eater with indigestion and despair. I remain convinced that as corporations such as Cargill get bigger and bigger, and appear to exercise ever greater control over the global food system, their sheer size limits their agility and activity.  By understanding the rules they play by and the businesses they are involved in, we can gain an understanding of how we should proceed if we want a different game and a different kind of business, one in which the goal is to ensure that everyone is adequately nourished while living respectfully and harmoniously with all Creation.”

  2 Responses to “2015-07-20 Gmail accounts and LinkedIn. Riddle solved.”

  1. YES, Sandra

    When I saw L-IN searching my entire email list– to raise their ad rates, I assume,

    I QUIT. And I won’t go back


  2. THis has happened to me 2 times. The last time it was a librarion, that i did not want to embaress by saying no. so I spoke to her. She said she had not requested it and felt rather the same as I did. boy have t hey got nerve
    I will give her this write upl I`m sure she will be interested. Evie

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