So you sit down, fire up your Gmail, and you receive an email from someone you don’t know with an attchment that contains “names, addresses, tax identification or Social Security numbers and loan information” on 1300 clients of a bank. Such is the beauty of Gmail ubiquity, where almost every email address out there is taken, meaning mistyped email addresses rarely bounce, and someone is going to read your email.
One employee of Rocky Mountain Bank did just that. He sent another email requesting that the user delete the message without reading it and to reply back to “discuss her actions.” When no one replied to discuss her actions, the bank, of course, sued Google to reveal the account owners information.
Google requires a court order to unmask clients, and even when served with papers, still allows users to object to their identity being revealed before they comply with a court order.
Last week, a California judge officially ordered Google to reveal the user and to deactivate that user’s account in the meantime. This of course brings up all sorts of other problems, especially considering that the user did nothing wrong in the first place. Consulting lawyers have said that the order likely infringes on the user’s First Amendment rights to communicate online.
What exactly deactivating the user’s account is supposed to accomplish is unclear to just about everyone, including us, unless they’re really just trying to get the user’s attention.
In any case, the biggest problem right now is that the bank has yet to notify any of their clients that their identities could have been compromised.