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Apple Criticised Over Procedure for Unlocking Inherited iPad

     

engine

3:22 pm on Mar 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



With a great deal of sensitive information potentially at risk, and music purchases, etc., I can understand why there might be strict rules over releasing access to the iPad. The data is probably worth a great deal more than the iPad hardware. But, really, how far does one have to go?

There are lessons to learn here.

A man has criticised Apple for refusing to unlock his late mother's iPad.

Josh Grant's mother, Anthea, passed away without leaving the family her Apple ID and password.

The family provided Apple with the death certificate, will and solicitor's letter but they claimed a court order was necessary to prove she owned it. Apple Criticised Over Procedure for Unlocking Inherited iPad [bbc.co.uk]

n0tSEO

4:42 pm on Mar 7, 2014 (gmt 0)



This is one of the reasons I dislike Apple so much. :(

lucy24

10:17 pm on Mar 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Know what I dislike? websites that start playing audio without advance notice. Grr.

If I had stuck around, would I have learned the significance of the "solicitor's letter"? In the US what I'd expect to see is a probate court ruling that names an heir and/or executor. This can take a very long time if she died intestate.

So far I don't see anything to get riled about. This is not a case of "I'm sorry, Mr Cohen, but unless you can provide a duly notarized death certificate and probated will, we can't release the funds your father deposited in 1938."

Samizdata

10:38 pm on Mar 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The linked article has me confused:

"All we want is the iPad to work... In this situation - who are they protecting?"

A quick search indicates that an iPad can be wiped and restored to factory settings without the need for a password.

So if all that the heirs want is for the device to work, it seems easy enough.

What they may actually want is access to the deceased's data.

I can see how that might legally be more complicated.

...

Samizdata

3:12 pm on Mar 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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how far does one have to go?

The opening post seems to have been rewritten since my last contribution.

they claimed a court order was necessary to prove she owned it

I don't think it was ever about proof of ownership of the iPad.

They inherited a device and were free to reset it and use it.

If it was a PC they could have run a password cracker, if it was a safe they could have blown the door off.

But if they wanted to compel a third-party to release data then a court order seems reasonable.

The company has now restored the factory settings. It maintains a court order would be needed to access the iCloud.

Problem solved?

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engine

5:50 pm on Mar 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



>The opening post seems to have been rewritten since my last contribution.

Not my post, it's unchanged and unedited. Do you mean the article?

Back OT. It's quite likely that the user doesn't realise they can reset it and start afresh, and most likely want to get at the account for the iTunes music, etc. That alone does seem odd.

Either way, a court order does seem a little over the top for a family machine. If it was the authorities, or through theft of the device, it would be the best protection.

tangor

6:00 pm on Mar 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Playing in a closed garden has many implications. Read a few of Apple's TOS and see what it really means...

piatkow

6:41 pm on Mar 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Having been an executor in the UK twice I know that sight of the grant of probate would be necessary. I haven't watched the clip myself but from the posts above the solicitor should have been aware that more than a letter was required. I imagine that they were trying to get things done before probate was granted as that takes about 3 months in the UK.

Samizdata

8:00 pm on Mar 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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a court order does seem a little over the top for a family machine

But it's not about the family machine, which can be unlocked very easily.

It's about a server owned by a third party.

Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook and others have Terms of Service that are agreed to in advance, and such contracts will often end automatically upon death. The corporations are subject to data protection laws and they don't give out login information to anyone unless they are legally obliged to.

Google recently started an Inactive Account Manager service where a nominated inheritor can be given download access after death, but the obvious thing to do - as anyone here who owns valuable domains will know - is to include access details for your digital estate with your will, or tell someone you trust where to find them.

...

graeme_p

8:08 am on Mar 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I suspect that the "court order" required is actually a "grant of probate" - some journalist probably decided that the latter was too complex a term for the audience. A combination of the family's (and probably journalists') confusion about access to the device and access to services the device was used with probably accounts for most of the rest of the story.

"We've provided the death certificate, will and solicitor's letter but it wasn't enough.


No grant of probate?

Since publication, Apple has acknowledged it misunderstood the request to unlock the device. The company has now restored the factory settings. It maintains a court order would be needed to access the iCloud.


They may well have got an unclear request.

I dislike vendor lock-in as much as anyone (which is one reason why I am such an open source enthusiast), and Apple are undoubtedly the masters of consumer device lock-in - but in this case they are right. They cannot just give a users family access to their data.

In fact, there really ought to be a way of asking a cloud service provider to destroy your data if you die - in much the same way as people instruct executors to destroy documents unread.

lawman

11:33 am on Mar 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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In fact, there really ought to be a way of asking a cloud service provider to destroy your data if you die - in much the same way as people instruct executors to destroy documents unread.

Put it in the will, get a court order, and . . . hey didn't we just go through this? :)

graeme_p

1:01 pm on Mar 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I meant something slightly different. Putting it in the will instructs the executors to do it. What I had in mind was an instruction to the service provider to delete data on sight on a death certificate.

Samizdata

1:56 pm on Mar 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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an instruction to the service provider to delete data on sight on a death certificate

I believe that some corporations already offer to close an account on this basis.

That does not mean they would necessarily delete the data, though.

After all, they own it.

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