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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Right to Privacy? by Godfather on 11 January 2005 6:53pm
I saw this today and thought some folks here may be interested in a discussion. Basically, it's a father who wants access to his dead son's Yahoo Emails so that he can make a memorial to him with them (he was killed in Iraq). It's a Yahoo account. Naturally, Yahoo has declined saying that it's private material of the owner, regardless of the situation. Personally, i agree with their reply. I cannot know what the father feels like, because i've not been in that situation. But i also like to think that my emails will always remain private regardless of family or anyone else. Plus,there is the risk that the family may find out things that they'd rather not know about. Personally, i wouldn't want my relatives to know everything about my life. An inbox is private property, and not a bulletin board. It's a tough situation this one. On the one hand,i can understand the father's wish and also that his son would "probably" approve. Yet,we cannot be sure of this. So in the abscence of certainty,i think by default that privacy should "reign". Also,it's very unlucky that it's Yahoo because being free (the basic service anyway) they have full rights to all material. This is made clear when you sign up for it.

What do you think about this dispute?


All people can do in the future i guess,is try to make some kind of agreement with Yahoo at some stage that certain people will have access (as you can do with some bank accounts). Or, simply give your password to relatives in the case of emergency. I've considered the later on some occasions when i've been travelling. Yet,i've never done it. I worry about them being nosy. Some relatives have been able to track down lost relatives through their last emails to friends. This is because they access to their children's accounts. Yet, unless that has been a mutual agreement. I think privacy should reign.
Re: Right to Privacy? by Helen on 11 January 2005 8:40pm
I agree. Should be private. There is so little privacy left....
Unless an arrangemnent was made ahead of time, of course-- but jeez, I would not feel right going through a deceased loved one's private e-mail...
Re: Right to Privacy? by Godfather on 12 January 2005 1:01am
Even privacy of free email is still not fully clear. For example. I hear that the controversy over that provider "Gmail" last year,was that the only catch was that they asked you not to delete old emails. The contents of your inbox "literally" became their property, and i think some people were suggesting that it could be used for market research etc. I dont know if it was just an urban myth or if it had any truth. With most free email providers i think deleted mail from your inbox is shredded with secure deletion. But with Gmail i dont know if that was ever cleared up. I agree that privacy is rarer and rarer each year.

Btw. We're gonna need a bigger inbox ;)

Re: Right to Privacy? by George on 12 January 2005 8:51pm
I agree with you. It will test a court test case to clarify the matter. For instance, regular mail is sacred as long as it is the custody of the postal system, but should that extend to email as well?

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