Feeds

Google shuts down bank snafu Gmail account

Court order snuffs innocent bystander

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Google has resolved a lawsuit from a US bank that accidentally sent 1,300 confidential tax IDs to an innocent Gmail account, but not before the web giant complied with a court order to shutdown the account and disclose certain account info.

It's unclear what information was disclosed.

In mid-August, according to court documents, an employee with the Wyoming-based Rocky Mountain Bank was asked by a customer to send a group of loan documents to a Gmail account used by a third party. The bank employee then proceeded to send the documents to the wrong Gmail address - alongside another file that included the names, addresses, tax IDs, and loan info for 1,325 of the bank's customers.

When Google refused to release the identity of the person behind the Gmail account, the bank sued. Last week, Google told The Reg it would not release the user's identity unless it receives a subpoena or court order, and such an order soon arrived.

Judge James Ware of the US district court for the northern district of California issued a temporary restraining order on Wednesday, insisting that Google deactivate the account. The judge also ordered Google to disclose - to the court and the bank - whether the account was dormant or active and whether the confidential file was opened or otherwise manipulated.

If the account was not dormant, Google was ordered to divulge the user's identity and contact information.

In a joint court filing, both parties said that Google had complied with the order. And Google has confirmed this with The Reg. But it's unclear what information was divulged to the court and the bank.

Both parties also said they had resolved the issue and that the court should lift the order deactivating the account. But the court has adjourned the case until October 5, so the account will remain shut at least until then.

"After notifying the account owner, we complied with the court's order," a Google spokesman tells us. "However, after working with Rocky Mountain Bank and the court, we've resolved the issue around the bank's error, and both sides have agreed to vacate the TRO [temporary restraining order] and dismiss the case."

He added: "It's also incorrect to say that we are able to disclose somebody's identity - we only have the information associated with the account, and federal law sets limits on what is discoverable."

In any event, the account of an innocent Gmail user has been shutdown - a clear violation of the user's constitutional right to communicate. And whatever Google divulged, the case shows - yet again - that whatever the web giant's intentions, it can be compelled to release user info. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.