Comma

Ownership of electronic mail documents after death

Comma (2013), 2013, (2), 135–150.

Abstract

In the past, a basic means of communication was the delivery of messages by persons who carried them directly from sender to recipient. These messages were not to be opened by anyone other than the recipient. Hence, privacy was guaranteed. Later, postal systems were assigned the same type of function. Recently, the world has undergone a rapid development in informatics and communication and e-mail is widely used as an alternative because of its ease of use, instant delivery, and low cost. This paper addresses a specific problem with e-mail: the potential loss, after death, of e-documents which exist only in an individual's inbox. These cannot be retrieved because passwords were known only to the individual, and consequently, rights relating to these documents may be lost. The risks involve vary: documents may belong to high status people (presidents, leaders, scientists, celebrities, etc.), or they could be contracts, property papers, and shipping receipts relating to commercial transactions. Additionally, these inbox documents may be of emotional value to the family of the deceased individual. After examining the statements of agreement issued by e-mail service providers, it was found that they do not include any clause which passes the ownership of such documents to their family of the deceased.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Ali, Hazem