4/26/2020 11:40:13 AM
Number Of Pages:
3 Double-spaced (900 words)
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If the law does not keep pace with technological developments, and it always seems to be at least one step behind, the consequences can be devastating, even in the seemingly simplest of things. What could be more technologically routine these days than e-mail? And yet … Justin Ellsworth was a Marine who gave his life for his country. By all accounts he was a brave and fine Marine and we all owe him the highest debt of gratitude. But we were also left with a serious question: what to do with his e-mail? His parents wanted access to it—they wanted to see what their son had to say. However, e-mail is a private sort of thing. Yahoo, his e-mail provider, had a terms-of-service agreement with him. And while we sympathize greatly with his parents, there is also a precedent to be concerned about. One can’t simply waive others’ privacy; a decision to release the information could have serious consequences for e-mail privacy for us all. So the issue needs to be discussed, thought through, and resolved. That is why we have cases like this in a class like this, so we can think these things through and try to respect the family, the deceased, but also the needs of society. Do a search and find as much as you can on this case. You can go to ProQuest and start with Susan Leach’s article summarizing the case: Who gets to see the e-mail of the deceased? Christian Science Monitor. Boston, Mass.: May 2, 2005. pg. 12. Abstract: Many legal experts say Yahoo! acted correctly. It denied the family’s informal request and only yielded under court order. “I would hope that the Yahoo! position here would become a trade practice – that e-mail would only be released if a judge approved it
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