Imagine some idiot in a bank sends you a mail by mistake, thinking you are someone else. Now imagine that the bank idiots sue to reveal your identity, Google refuses, and a judge orders to shutdown your account. So logical!
It all happened thanks to the Wyoming-based Rocky Mountain Bank and Judge James Ware—a US District Court Judge for the Northern District of California who, according to Wikipedia, fabricated "the story of being the brother of Virgil Ware, a 13 year old black boy shot by teenage racists in Alabama in 1963 on the same day as the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing". So nice!
This is the story: A Rocky Mountain Bank employee sent a confidential document containing the names, addresses, tax identification numbers and loan information of 1325 people and businesses. Instead of sending it to the right person, the employee used another email address by mistake, only to realise his mess a little bit later. They tried to contact the person at the wrong address, but that person didn't reply.
As a result, and probably panicking they were going to be sued themselves if their imbroglio was uncovered, they decided to sue Google, asking them to release the identity of the person who owned the Gmail account. At the same time, they filed a motion asking the court to keep the lawsuit secret. Fortunately, Judge Ronald M. Whyte—who at the time was acting on behalf of Judge Ware—denied the secrecy of the case.
Then came the real Judge Ware and his shiny big fat gavel, to screw up everything a little more: When Google said that the idiotic bank's fuzzuckup was not their problem, and refused to provide the identity of the user, the judge ordered Google to shut down the Gmail account.
Why? Who the hell knows. It makes as much sense to me as it does to you.
Most probably the account's owner doesn't use that account anymore. But that's beyond the point. Why does anyone have to pay for the mistake of others? Why would I have to see my mail account closed because some moron sends me the wrong mail? Yes, it seems like the mostest stupidest thing of the week. And it's only Tuesday. [Techdirt and Information Week via BBG]