Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Slain Marine's e-mail raises legal issues

Filed under
Web

Yahoo Inc. may have resolved its dispute with a family over accessing the e-mail account of a Marine killed in Iraq, but legal experts say such conflicts are bound to be more common as e-mail becomes a crucial component of our lives.

John Ellsworth sought his son's e-mails after Lance Cpl. Justin Ellsworth was killed Nov. 13 while inspecting a bomb in Iraq. But the father didn't know his son's password, and Yahoo said it couldn't break its confidentiality agreement with the Marine.

The family was granted access this week after an Oakland County probate judge ordered Yahoo to do so. Yahoo had said all along that it would comply with any such order.

Henry H. Perritt Jr., a professor and expert in cyberlaw at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, said he knows of no other case where battles over a dead person's e-mail have gone to court, but he expects to see more.

"I think that as it is now, the service providers for the most part just hand it over when they've established death and that someone is the administrator of the estate," Perritt said Thursday. "But they are really just beginning to think about this."

Other e-mail service providers, including America Online Inc., EarthLink Inc., and Microsoft Corp., which runs Hotmail, have provisions for transferring accounts upon proof of death and identity as next of kin. AOL says it gets dozens of such requests a day.

Yahoo's policy, however, states that accounts terminate at death.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Canonical Closes QEMU Vulnerabilities in Ubuntu 15.04 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Three QEMU vulnerabilities have been found and corrected in Ubuntu 15.04 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS operating systems by Canonical. Read more

Move over Skype, Facetime, Hangouts. Here comes Spreedbox, a fully open source, secure videoconferencing solution

Following the trend of privacy-respecting products and projects coming out of Europe (e.g., ownCloud, Kolab, and Plasma Mobile), German firm struktur AG has started a Kickstarter project called Spreedbox, which aims to offer a secure audio video conferencing service. According to the project page, “The Spreedbox is a unique device for secure audio/video conferencing, text and video messaging and file sharing. The Spreedbox is your own conferencing, meeting and file exchange service on the Internet and puts the control and security of your data into your own hands.” Read more

Student researchers collaborate virtually with help of open-source software

A typical summer research program—the institute's Nanobio Research Experience for Undergraduates, for example—brings students together to one host university, where they work in different laboratories on various projects. In the new pilot training program on Computational Biomolecular, students use an open-source software called Rosetta to work together on problems in computational biology and are mentored by faculty who are part of a global collaborative team known as the Rossetta Commons. The software gives users the ability to analyze massive amounts of data to predict the structure of real and imagined proteins, enzymes, and other molecular structures. Read more

Open Source Is Going Even More Open—Because It Has To

Open source foundations are nothing new. Linux Foundation has been around since 2007, and other major projects like the Eclipse code editing tool and the Apache web server have been governed this way for even longer. Many of the most important open source projects in recent years, such as the Hadoop big data crunching platform and the database system Cassandra, are managed by the Apache Foundation. But it’s unusual to see so many new foundations created so quickly. Read more