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You Know When You Accidentally Send an Email to the Wrong Person? That Happened at a Major Bank, and Now There's a Legal Complaint Over It


"...a needless and massive privacy violation..."

To err is human, and one Goldman Sachs contractor did so big time when she typed "gmail.com" in the "to:" field instead of "gs.com."

Now, Goldman Sachs has filed a complaint against Google to prevent the release of "highly confidential brokerage account information," Reuters reported.

In this June 5, 2014 photo, a man walks past a Google sign at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Google is buying Skybox Imaging in a deal that could serve as a launching pad for the Internet company to send its own fleet of satellites to take aerial pictures and provide online access to remote areas of the world. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

The investment bank filed the complaint Friday in a New York state court in Manhattan after Google reportedly told the firm that the mistakenly sent email could not be recovered and destroyed without a court order.

The email, sent to the wrong email address by the outside contractor on June 23, contained client data, though Goldman Sachs didn't say how many clients could be affected.

The fact that Google is refusing to delete the email without a court order seems to be good news for user privacy; it indicates that the tech giant is unwilling to set a precedent of reaching into Gmail users' inboxes and deleting messages.

But in Goldman Sachs' view, deleting the email is a small action with big potential consequences for not doing so.

"Emergency relief is necessary to avoid the risk of inflicting a needless and massive privacy violation upon Goldman Sachs' clients, and to avoid the risk of unnecessary reputational damage to Goldman Sachs," the bank said. "By contrast, Google faces little more than the minor inconvenience of intercepting a single email - an email that was indisputably sent in error."

This story has been updated.


Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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