Court Could Order Google To Delete Misdirected Email


Goldman Sachs has asked a US court to force Google to remotely delete a message sent to the wrong address.

The e-mail, sent last week, was meant to go to an address ending in, but mistakenly went to the same username but at instead. That’s particularly unfortunate as the e-mail included “highly confidential brokerage account information.”

The message wasn’t actually sent by a Goldman employee. Instead it was an outside contractor who had prepared a report on the company’s internal processes and had included the report in the misaddresses message.

Goldman says it’s not had any response from the Gmail customer. It contacted Google and was told it was impossible to delete an e-mail without a court order. That’s what Goldman is now seeking, saying it would only be a “minor inconvenience” for Google to delete the message from the recipient’s account but this would avoid “inflicting a needless and massive privacy violation upon Goldman Sachs’ clients, and to avoid the risk of unnecessary reputational damage to Goldman Sachs.”

According to Goldman, the account hadn’t been accessed since the message was sent, and Google has now blocked access to the account.

At the time of writing, Google hadn’t commented on the case and the court had issued no ruling. It appears likely Google will comply with any court order to delete the message, but wasn’t prepared to do so before such an order for fear of setting a precedent.

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