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Apple has always prided itself on a company that takes their customers’ privacy seriously. How seriously, you ask? A CBCNews report published earlier today alleges that Apple has demanded a court order in order to release a deceased man’s Apple ID password to his widowed wife.
72-year old Peggy Bush of Victoria, British Columbia recently lost her husband David to lung cancer. When her favorite card game app on the family’s iPad stopped working, her daughter, Donna, attempted to reload the app onto the tablet, only to find out that her mother didn’t know the Apple ID password.
When Donna called Apple for assistance, they asked for the deceased husband’s will and death certificate. Over the next two months, the family located serial numbers, David’s will that left everything to his wife, and a notarized death certificate, which was then presented to Apple. After numerous phone calls, the family claims that Apple requested a court order.
“I thought it was ridiculous,” Peggy Bush told CBCNews. “I could get the pensions, I could get the benefits, I could get all kinds of things from the federal government and the other government. But from Apple, I couldn’t even get a silly password.”
Bush declined to obtain a new Apple ID and password, as she didn’t want to repurchase any app she had already paid for. A court order to obtain the password could have cost the family hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
Donna Bush eventually wrote a letter to Tim Cook, explaining that all she wanted was “to download a card game for [her] mother.” “I don’t want to have to go to court to do that, and I finally got a call from customer relations who confirmed, yes, that is their policy,” Donna Bush said.
CBCNews contacted Apple for the family, at which point the company apologized for the misunderstanding, and worked with the family to recover the password.
The whole situation points to a growing problem – what to do with what Cnet calls “digital assets” after a person’s death. As the site points out, Facebook is now rolling out a feature called the “legacy contact”, which allows a person of your designation to take over the operation of your Facebook page in the event of your demise. Google’s “inactive account manager” allows you to control similar settings.
You can rest safe knowing that Apple is indeed very secure with your privacy. However, it might not be such a bad idea to leave your Apple ID password with a loved one. You know, just in case.