Thursday, July 3, 2014

Goldman Sachs makes Google un-send an Email

I believe almost everyone has experienced the despair of clicking the "send" button on an email as they realize it's going to the wrong recipient (or maybe you've wrongfully placed hundreds of emails in the CC field instead of the BCC). Once that email is sent, there's no way to take it back... unless you're Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sach had a highly sensitive and confidential email sent by mistake to a gmail address instead of the intended address, and you might imagine the despair level (x1000000) it must have caused. At first they contacted Google to block the email and tell them who might have accessed it, and Google said it would gladly do so... provided they presented a court order. But now, it seems that Google complied with their request even without it.

Now... how do you think this should have been handled. Is it fair to assume that in such cases someone has the right to "un-send" an email? But if so, who or what should determine if an email is "important" enough? What if people start requesting Google to unsend that "I want to break up with you" email that someone was sent without thinking straight; or some other email they regret as soon as they hit send? Worse still, should you risk being in trouble just because you received an un-intended email and decide to share it with some friends just to know if they can explain what it is - and maybe one of them decides to use that sensitive information to their advantage?

... Scary thought indeed...

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