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SCI/TECH: After Death, A Fight for Digital Memories

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posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 02:06 PM
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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 recently.
 



www.msnbc.msn.com
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 his adventures.
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

Related News Links:
www.wideopenwest.com
newswww.bbc.net.uk


[edit on 3-2-2005 by Banshee]




posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 03:05 PM
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Very interesting issue...

One thing I thought about, all these guys own copyright on anything posted etc on their system - so if there was something good and important, they can sell it. ...If they open it up for 'loved ones,' they set a precedent to lose their copyright protections...



.



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 03:14 PM
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Well, since the government is considered the "source" of law, I doubt they would have a hard time getting information on suspected criminals from these service providers.

The "little guys" get virtually no justice on their own, and since possession is 9/10ths of law, they would have to use government action on their behalf to get anything done.

But, if the family members wanted to, they could download the site from their computer, there are many programs that can do this.

[edit on 3-2-2005 by Jamuhn]



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 03:22 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
Very interesting issue...

One thing I thought about, all these guys own copyright on anything posted etc on their system - so if there was something good and important, they can sell it. ...If they open it up for 'loved ones,' they set a precedent to lose their copyright protections...



.


Actually, items that are covered by the copywrite laws would fall into the estate so agian, family or the executor of the estate would have the rights.



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 03:32 PM
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Originally posted by kenshiro2012

Originally posted by soficrow

One thing I thought about, all these guys own copyright on anything posted etc on their system - so if there was something good and important, they can sell it. ...If they open it up for 'loved ones,' they set a precedent to lose their copyright protections...


Actually, items that are covered by the copywrite laws would fall into the estate so agian, family or the executor of the estate would have the rights.



What I mean is - a fairly standard term of use is that it's the server that owns copyright - not the writer or poster... So the server actually owns what's on the system even if the writer is still alive.

You gotta read the fine print.



.PS. Not saying i think it's right - i don't - i believe in Open Access/Open Source - just saying that's the way it is.

[edit on 3-2-2005 by soficrow]



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 08:34 PM
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About 5 years ago, Yahoo arbitrarily emptied my account. I had many of my finest works of written fiction saved to drafts. Did I ever get a response when I wrote them after they did this? Of course not.

I have always logged into my e-mail at least once a day, there was no inactivity at all.

My logic was, hey save drafts are great in case I ever travel and want to access my work any where I go.

Tough luck, Big Corps win Fatality.... "Mortal Combat!!!"



posted on Feb, 3 2005 @ 08:51 PM
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if you read the terms of service fior web hosting they can do what every they want with the content on the site. (see items 18-21)
order.sbs.yahoo.com...

This has become a big problem with the internet and it's quick boom that rivals even the TV since the average joe can use it, and access it. There really is noting to compare it to. Thus a lot of laws that protect consumers are not available. And sites like yahoo can provide sub-par service without any fear of lawsuits by it's users.

in short... DONT USE THESE SITES, or at least dont let the content you put on them be the only copies.



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