Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Slain Marine's e-mail raises legal issues

Filed under
Web

Yahoo Inc. may have resolved its dispute with a family over accessing the e-mail account of a Marine killed in Iraq, but legal experts say such conflicts are bound to be more common as e-mail becomes a crucial component of our lives.

John Ellsworth sought his son's e-mails after Lance Cpl. Justin Ellsworth was killed Nov. 13 while inspecting a bomb in Iraq. But the father didn't know his son's password, and Yahoo said it couldn't break its confidentiality agreement with the Marine.

The family was granted access this week after an Oakland County probate judge ordered Yahoo to do so. Yahoo had said all along that it would comply with any such order.

Henry H. Perritt Jr., a professor and expert in cyberlaw at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, said he knows of no other case where battles over a dead person's e-mail have gone to court, but he expects to see more.

"I think that as it is now, the service providers for the most part just hand it over when they've established death and that someone is the administrator of the estate," Perritt said Thursday. "But they are really just beginning to think about this."

Other e-mail service providers, including America Online Inc., EarthLink Inc., and Microsoft Corp., which runs Hotmail, have provisions for transferring accounts upon proof of death and identity as next of kin. AOL says it gets dozens of such requests a day.

Yahoo's policy, however, states that accounts terminate at death.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Bill Gates Inadvertently Shows Off Ubuntu on His Facebook Page

Bill Gates is much more involved in philanthropy than Microsoft these days and he's done some great work regarding the eradications of certain diseases and to improve the quality of life in a number of third world countries. He's also inadvertently promoted Ubuntu, which is a Linux system. Read more

Major Release LibreOffice 4.4 Announced

The Document Foundation today announced the latest and "most beautiful" LibreOffice ever. LibreOffice 4.4 is the ninth major release for the project and brings with it lots of design and functionality improvements. Redesigned toolbars, menus, status bars, rulers and new theme selector are among the goodies for users. Michael Meeks said today that this release not only improves the visible features but also the foundations underneath. Read more

Sphinx: An outstanding open source documentation platform

Sphinx is a free, open source project written in Python and, not surprisingly, is really well suited for documenting Python projects. Now, before you harrumph “Meh, I code in which isn’t at all like Python!” be aware that Sphinx supports several other languages (C and C++ support is in development). Read more

today's leftovers