alex asunder


Bank screws up, sues Google, innocent email bystander loses
September 30, 2009, 3:29 pm
Filed under: freedom | Tags: ,

Rocky Mountain Bank in my beloved Wyoming agreed to drop the lawsuit against Google after the G-Unit complies with the legal order to provide  information regarding unsuspecting G-Mail user.

Some important points to note regarding possible future ramifications of this decision (via InformationWeek):

David D. Johnson, an attorney with Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP, defended the judge’s actions, arguing in a blog post that the law supports the bank’s pursuit of its property rights at the expense of the Google user’s privacy rights.

(Paul) Levy (attorney w/ Public Citizen Litigation Group) in an e-mail acknowledged that the approach used by the bank to identify a Gmail account holder has the potential to be misused. An organization intent on identifying an individual through an online account could simply send that person “sensitive data,” claim the sending was accidental, and subpoena the person’s e-mail provider the way Google was subpoenaed, without claiming a cause for action.

An anonymous commenter at InformationWeek sums it up nicely:

ANON1248858526139
commented on Sep 29, 2009 6:51:59 PM

I am an idiot and send confidential private data offsite, NOT encrypted. Then I panic, contact the email provider and pray they will just hand over the account holder. Email provider refutes claim and asks for court order. Goes to court, Judge from the stone age, grants disabling the account. Bank Wins, Google Wins, Gmail holder loses.

Lesson: Bad guy wants either your personal information tied to a gmail account or wants to get you shut down. I claim I sent some “really important schtuff” to said user, stone age Judge grants request. Again, user loses.

In the words of Mencia, deh dah deh!

cnet News reports that the bank’s attorney said no action was taken against the genius employee who caused the whole mess.

Consequences schomsequences.