PUBLIC INFORMATION — A bank's effort to prevent the disclosure of
information about a data breach arising from an errant Gmail message
has been rejected by a federal judge in San Jose, reports Thomas Claburn for Information Week.
On Friday, Judge Ronald M. Whyte of the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California, acting on behalf of another
judge, denied a motion by the Wyoming-based Rocky Mountain Bank to seal
its lawsuit against Google.
"An attempt by a bank to shield information about an unauthorized
disclosure of confidential customer information until it can determine
whether or not that information has been further disclosed and/or
misused does not constitute a compelling reason that overrides the
public's common law right of access to court filings," the judge said
in his ruling.
The lawsuit seeks to force Google to reveal information about a Gmail account holder who received a misdirected e-mail sent by a bank employee.
The message, intended for a bank customer, included an attachment
that should not have been sent containing confidential customer
information for 1,325 individual and business accounts, according to
the court's summary of the case. The data is question is said to
include names, addresses, tax identification numbers, and loan
According to the facts summarized in the judge's order — the
actual complaint has not yet been made available in response to the
judge's ruling — the bank employee attempted to e-mail loan statements
to one of the bank's customers who had requested them. But the message
went to the wrong person, with a confidential file.
"After learning of its inadvertent disclosure of confidential
customer information, Plaintiff tried to recall the e-mail without
success," the court's summary states. "It then sent another e-mail to
the Gmail address, instructing the recipient to immediately delete the
prior e-mail and the attached file
in its entirety without opening or reviewing it. Plaintiff also
requested that the recipient contact Plaintiff to discuss his or her
actions. The recipient has not responded to Plaintiff's e-mail."