It’s bad enough that financial institutions are screwing up our economy, they’re now screwing up our privacy and freedom of speech!
U.S. District Court Judge James Ware, in the northern district of California, just issued a court order forcing Google to shut down a Gmail account and turn over users identity & contact information. The user did nothing wrong!
In fact, this incredible situation is the final outcome of a screw-up by Rocky Mountain Bank…
On Aug. 12, the bank mistakenly sent names, addresses, social security numbers and loan information of more than 1,300 customers to a Gmail address. When the bank realized the problem, it sent a message to that same address asking the recipient to contact the bank and destroy the file without opening it.
When the bank didn’t hear from the Gmail account owner it obtained a court order to force Google’s hand. How absolutely insane!
Likely the first email was marked as spam–hence no reply from the account user–but still, the bank completely screws-up and the poor account holder has all kinds of basic rights violated. What’s next? A banker comes to your house to discuss lending rates, leaves his briefcase behind, you leave for vacation, so a judge rules your house has to be nuked?
Think about it, the Gmail user didn’t even get to prevent this from happening–heck, Google didn’t even contact him/her to see if he wanted to voluntarily comply with the bank’s original request.
Kind of puts recent Gmail outages in perspective, doesn’t it? We shouldn’t be worried about downtime, we should be worried about Google’s "bend over backwards to accommodate the courts" policy.
What if the next judge orders Google to hand over all of your emails, so some bank executive can look through them?