Web hosting and email companies such as Yahoo.com seem to be taking the right to privacy too far. They believe that this right should continue even
after a person dies, no matter what family members - even those with full Power of Attorney - want. They will go so far as to destroy the emails, web
sites, and pictures of their deceased users rather than allow families access, as the family of a Marine killed in action in Iraq found out
WASHINGTON - Stationed in a remote corner of Iraq, Marine Corps reservist Karl Linn's only means of communicating with the outside world was through
a computer. Several times a week, the 20-year-old combat engineer would log on and send out a batch of e-mails and update a Web site with pictures of
For his parents in Midlothian, Va., the electronic updates were so precious that when he was killed last week in an enemy ambush, one of the first
things they did was to contact the company that hosted their son's account. They wanted to know how to access the data and preserve it.
But who owns the material is a source of intense debate
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
At first look, these web companies look to be protecting the privacy rights of thier users and this is great... on the surface.
The issue lies in that, after you die, these companies believe that the emails, pictures etc are so private that they cannot be released after the
death of the user. Even though, after a person passes away, all of their belongings, mail, photographs etc. then becomes the property of the estate,
these companies believe that the material they are hosting is not covered under these laws. Unfortunately, all of these companies have a policy in
place that will delete all of the user's material after a certain amout of time has passed without the user logging into the account. This is a
serious loss for family members. I believe this is a serious injustice to the families, first the loss of the family member and then to be denied
access to such things as emails and pictures.
Yes, there are many things that people would love to keep secret about themselves even after they have died but if this was the case for everything,
we as a world would be a much darker place. Think about the notes from Da Vinci, Tesla etc. If by the standard that these web companies are holding
to, these notes etc. would have been destroyed long ago.
There is another problem with the way that Yahoo and the other web companies are conducting themselves. Their argument could actually be used to
portect criminals and even terrorists. Example, Big John of the Alfonso Family passes on. Big John is a known hitman for the Alfonso's. Any emails
picture that the policce could use to prosecute the Alfonso's would be destroyed and thus the crime lords would get away free. (Note the names
mentioned above are fictional and are only meant to be used as an example).
The same would go for a supposed terrorist, for example Tim McVeigh. If he had died in the bombing in OKC, then emails etc that he had that may have
linked others to the crime would be destroyed.
I am all for the Right of Privacy, but in this case, I think it is beinmg taken too far
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[edit on 3-2-2005 by Banshee]