While not being hacked or the computers just didn’t go on the fritz, Wells Fargo mistakenly leaked 1.4 Gigabyte of its sensitive documents. This happened when a former financial adviser subpoenaed the company as part of a lawsuit against one of its current employees. You may think that 1.4 GB of data isn’t a big deal, but that contains information about at least 50,000 customers, including their names, Social Security numbers, as well as sensitive financial information. As The New York Times reported, some of the victims are Well Fargo’s richest clients, with investment portfolios worth tens of billions of dollars.
Angela A. Turiano, the lawyer apparently handed over the enormous amount of spreadsheets in the collection to Gary Sinderbrand, the former financial adviser, with no confidentiality agreement. According to Turiano, this accident happened because of working with an outside vendor. The vendor’s job was to investigate those documents as part of the court’s discovery process and make sure Sinderbrand only got those emails and files those are related to that case. Also, a protective order should be issued by a judge to the complainant, which he didn’t receive, as well.
According to Turiano, both Sinderbrand and his lawyer were asked to return the CD. After all, the lack of confidentiality agreement lets anyone disclose all the information they got. If Sinderbrand does that, it’s Wells Fargo that will be in trouble. As The New York Times reported, this error can be classified as a data breach, which “potentially violates a bevy of state and federal consumer data privacy laws that limit the release of personally identifiable customer information to outside parties.”
It’s not sure if the plaintiff will listen to Turiano’s request. According to his lawyer, Sinderbrand has a plan to keep the CD confidential and secure for now because they judge his legal rights and responsibilities. After all, it was Wells Fargo’s responsibility to keep its client’s data safe and secure.