CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, October 19, 2017

"Who can access your e-mails after you die?"

Orin Kerr has this post at The Volokh Conspiracy. In part:

The case arose after John Ajemian died from a cycling accident. He didn’t have a will, and his siblings were appointed personal representatives of his estate. Ajemian’s siblings knew that their brother had kept a personal Yahoo e-mail account for several years. They wanted to access the account’s contents. Yahoo refused to disclose them, however, citing the ban on disclosure imposed by the federal law known as the Stored Communications Act. The act basically says that email providers can’t disclose private emails unless a specific exception applies. According to Yahoo, no exception applied. Ajemian was dead, and he wasn’t alive to consent to the disclosure of his emails. As a result, Yahoo argued, they couldn’t disclose the emails.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, disagreed.

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