Investment bank Goldman Sachs is scrambling to retrieve a sensitive email that an IT contractor accidentally sent to an unintended Gmail account -- and it’s suing Google to get the job done.
The bank filed a complaint against Google last Friday in a New York state court in a last ditch effort to contain a potentially serious breach of its client’s confidential financial information that could have repercussions for the bank’s reputation.
Reuters reported that Goldman has asked the court to order Google to delete the email following efforts over the past week to ensure whoever it got sent to doesn’t its contents.
Goldman hasn’t said how many clients were affected, however the bank has said it contained “highly confidential brokerage information”.
On June 23 an employee of a technology consulting firm mistakenly sent an email to a Gmail.com account instead of an address supplied by Goldman at its own domain “.gs.com”.
According to Goldman’s summons on Google, the consulting firm was brought in to assist the bank prepare internal processes for reports its required to file with the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Those reports contain information about client investments. The employee made the error while testing changes to the bank’s internal validation processes.
Goldman said that on Thursday it had sent an email to the gmail address the employee mistakenly sent the email to requesting the recipient “promptly deleted” it and confirm in writing that he or she had done so. The bank didn’t receive a response.
On the same day it contacted Google’s incident response team to see if it could help but the bank was told the email could not be deleted without a court order.
Goldman stressed that its clients face “a risk of an invasion of privacy and disclosure of sensitive, confidential information about themselves and their accounts” while it “faces the risk of unnecessary reputational harm” if it can’t show that clients that their information is in safe hands.
According to Reuters, Goldman said that in contrast to the impact on itself and its clients, “Google faces little more than the minor inconvenience of intercepting a single email — an email that was indisputably sent in error.”
Google has 20 days to respond to the summons.
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