Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Google, bank resolve issue over misfired e-mail

Google and Rocky Mountain Bank ask court to dismiss a case that stemmed from the bank inadvertently e-mailing customer data to a random Gmail address.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
2 min read

A bank that accidentally sent sensitive customer information to a Gmail address and persuaded a judge to order Google to deactivate the account has resolved the issue with Google and the companies have filed a motion to dismiss the case.

Google spokesman Andrew Pederson declined to say exactly how the issue was resolved or to identify the owner of the Gmail account.

The problem began August 12 when a worker at Rocky Mountain Bank inadvertently sent an e-mail containing names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and loan information of more than 1,300 customers to a random Gmail address. When the worker realized the mistake, a subsequent e-mail was sent to the address asking that the recipient contact the bank and destroy the data, but the bank heard no word, according to a MediaPost report.

The bank asked Google for information on the owner of the Gmail address, but Google said the bank had to get a court order to get access to that information. Last week, a judge in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., ordered Google to deactivate the Gmail account and Google complied, Pederson said.

"After notifying the account owner, we complied with the court's order. However, after working with Rocky Mountain Bank and the court, we resolved the issue around the bank's error, and both sides have agreed to vacate the TRO and dismiss the case," he said.

"While we regret that the user has been locked out of their account through no fault of their own, we're not legally able to reactivate the account until the court approves our motion to dismiss the case and vacate the TRO," Pederson added. "We're hopeful that the court will act quickly, and as soon as the motion is approved, we'll reactivate the account."

Calls to Rocky Mountain Bank and the court clerk were not immediately returned on Monday.

Update, September 29, 9:35 a.m. PDT: Google spokesman Pederson said the court granted the motion to dismiss the case on Monday, allowing the company to re-activate the Gmail account.