Ok here is the story, a Bank Employee types up a list of accounts [1300+] complete with Tax ID Numbers, Full names, Loan Amounts and even SSNs [Social Security Numbers] he then puts this document, completely unencrypted, into an e-mail and sends it to a ?. Gmail account.
Yes you read right, a Gmail account. But wait there is more, not only did this winner of the ?moron of the year? award send it to a Gmail account but he sent it to the wrong one. In what the bank called a ?move to protect its customers? they sued Google after sending repeated e-mails to the account asking for the information back and receiving no answer.
In the suit they demanded that Google give up the account holder?s personal information. Google, rightly, refused. Again, there is more! The Bank also asked the court to seal the suit; again citing the desire to protect their customers. The court refused to allow the suit to be made secret and the cat was let out of the bag.
Now all of that would have been the end if it were not for the genius of one Judge James Ware. The [dis]Honorable Judge Ware is also noteworthy as being the Judge that lied about being related to Virgil Ware. Virgil Ware was murdered by racists on September 15th 1963, the same day as the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. This little ?error? on Ware?s part caused his nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to be pulled, yet he was allowed to keep his existing life-time seat as a District Judge for the Ninth Circuit.
The error of this is now apparent as Judge Ware has ordered that Google shut down [and remove] the Gmail account for the Bank?s mistake. The bank in question is the Wyoming Based Rocky Mountain Bank.
This is the equivalent of someone sending mail that was not addressed to you and then burning down your house as a way of fixing the issue. Even if all they did was close the account it is like having your house barred to you for the same thing [mail sent to the wrong person]. Now this story of stupidity has made its rounds on the internet this morning and there have been heated debates both for and against [mostly against] this ruling. The people that are for this all seem to feel the Bank [and the employee] has no fault or responsibility in this but that the owner of the Gmail account and Google are the ones that should be held accountable.
The opposition, of course feel the opposite; they say the bank made the mistake and that the account owner and Google should not be punished for this.
Personally I feel that this is a perfect example of how screwed up the US legal and corporate system has become. My reasons are simple;
1 ? Corporate America has become lazy and Lax, they are always looking for the quickest /cheapest solution, never the best solution. They no longer have their customers? best interest in mind. In this case the Bank tried to sweep their mistake under the rug by requesting the suit be secret. This would indicate they did not let the 1300+ customers know about the breach and that they more-than-likely had not done anything to protect their accounts.
2 ? Too much trust in the cloud. We have all become too trusting of the big names out there. There was a time when Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail etc., would never be accepted as a viable business account. The simple fact that a bank employee would send ANYTHING confidential to a Gmail account is completely ridiculous. Have we not learned the dangers of publicly accessible e-mail solutions? How many Web Mail accounts need to be breached before the @InstertWebMail is a red flag?
3 ? Accountability to Customers. ALL companies are forgetting this, from AMD to Xerox [including Intel, Microsoft and Apple along the way]. They are concerned with CEOs, Shareholders and Profit. Not the consumer or their customers. This is becoming more and more evident, especially in light of the latest round of economic problems in the US [and globally]. Many banks that begged for stimulus money from the government [meant to allow them loan money and keep the economy going] are now refusing to make new loans, even for people with good credit. This shows a complete lack of accountability to anyone but the corporations own interest. In this case this is shown by the bank?s lack of notice or proactive actions to correct the situation.
4 ? Corporate America has too much control over the court system. Here is one of the biggest and is seen in every suit filed by RIAA and the MPAA. These large corporations donate money, hold fund raisers, etc. for judges, senators, congressmen and others. They know that with this they can always ?call in favors? later. This has become so common a practice that now most judges simply bow to corporate demands without stopping to consider the actual laws and what they were created to do [Protect the People, not Corporations]. In this case the judge ordered that an e-mail account that could potentially contain irreplaceable personal information to be closed without thought of the owner of the account.
As you can see this ruling is in every way wrong. The problem is that the individual no longer has an easily accessible way of voicing their opinion and making changes that truly benefit, and represent the will of, the people