CBC News is reporting that Apple would not disclose Apple ID passwords to a widow after presenting her late husband’s death certificates and her will. Instead, Apple demanded Peggy Bush, 72, to attain a court order in order to gain access to the account. See the video after the jump for the full story.
Initially, Apple said that a death certificate would suffice but the company changed its mind on followup calls, making this situation even more frustrating for Bush. She just wanted to play her iPad freemium card game in peace. Law regarding digital assets after death is murky, although Bush points out that death certificates enabled her to transfer pensions and benefits, making it seem ridiculous that Apple would also not cooperate with the same information.
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“I thought it was ridiculous. I could get the pensions, I could get 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. It’s nonsense,” 72-year-old Peggy Bush told Go Public.
CBC contacted Apple directly, who have since sorted the specific problem with Bush’s case, but it would not elaborate on its company policies regarding iCloud and Apple ID ownership after death. This serves as a warning for others to sort out their digital assets ahead of time, perhaps by sharing important account passwords with trustworthy friends. Apple said that Bush’s situation was a “misunderstanding” but refused to comment further.
Many are asking for government oversight of digital-accounts-after-death situations, demanding laws be modernized to treat account data in the same as any other possession when someone passes away. Independent of the confusion associated with this particular case, Apple is clearly lagging behind in this area. Facebook and Google have made big leaps in accommodating deaths with their respective cloud services. For example, Google has a clear process for Google account recovery after death posted on its website. Apple has no such form. Users who find themselves needing iCloud and Apple ID ownership transfer should contact Apple Support for assistance.