Hawk's Nest

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

CNN.com - Digital inheritance raises legal?questions - Dec 24, 2004

This is worth thinking about. I have to agree in the Yahoo case with the family that these e-mail correspondence belong to the estate. They are unencrypted and sitting on a public server. Though a password is required for the account, Yahoo requires this of all participants and it is not unique to this individual. It, therefore, does not show any intention or state of mind for the deceased concerning these items. I can't imagine the correspondence of an individual from hundreds of years ago, locked in some chest without a key, being allowed to be destroyed when part of history would die with that act. I think the importance to our understanding of the world at large outweighs private considerations as a public policy matter. So I hope the estate prevails.

However, to be prudent, leave behind your passwords in your lockbox or such so protracted legal actions are avoided.


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