Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Security United Kingdom Apple Your Rights Online

Apple Refuses To Unlock Bequeathed iPad 465

Posted by samzenpus
from the cooperation-in-3-2-1 dept.
mrspoonsi writes "A man whose mother bequeathed her iPad to her family in her will says Apple's security rules are too restrictive. Since her death, they have been unable to unlock the device, despite providing Apple with copies of her will, death certificate and solicitor's letter. After her death, they discovered they did not know her Apple ID and password, but were asked to provide written consent for the device to be unlocked. Mr Grant said: 'We obviously couldn't get written permission because mum had died. So my brother has been back and forth with Apple, they're asking for some kind of proof that he can have the iPad. We've provided the death certificate, will and solicitor's letter but it wasn't enough. They've now asked for a court order to prove that mum was the owner of the iPad and the iTunes account.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Refuses To Unlock Bequeathed iPad

Comments Filter:
  • Just hack it but what are the laws like UK over that??

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's lethal injection or the chair if you hack an iPad.

      Those Apple lobbyists do a great job!

    • Just hack it but what are the laws like UK over that??

      The idea is that you can't.

    • Does the UK have that stupid digital-lock law? If so, it would be a crime to break the lock even if it was otherwise legal.
  • They're stalling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lisias (447563) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:46AM (#46416277) Homepage Journal

    Apple will do whatever it will takes to demove the family from getting the account access for the following reaons:

    1) They want *new* account to inflate the user base.

    2) By stalling the request increases the chance that the family decides it's not worth the pain.

    3) They don't want to deal with similar cases in the future - there's no money on it. So it's important to them to avoid precedences.

    Welcome to this brave new world, where companies decides what you own and the rights you have on it.

    • by jkrise (535370) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:35AM (#46416451) Journal

      Actually they should ask the sons to get written permission from Steve Jobs before unlocking. All Apple products belong to Jobs and Jobs alone.

    • Re:They're stalling (Score:5, Informative)

      by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:49PM (#46420747)

      Does it take effort to be that stupid?

      They're asking for a standard court order based on English law that the documents presented are genuine and that the iPad actually belonged to that dead person.

      This is really, really, really standard stuff. The only reason it's turned into a big deal is because it's Apple. After the big kefuffle last year or so when that reporter lost his data because someone social engineered their way into his Apple ID and Apple took (deserved) serious heat for it, they seriously tightened up their security procedures.

  • Disguisting! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:48AM (#46416281) Journal
    How dare that consumer act as though Apple's intellectual property was something she could just 'bequeath' because she's all dead or some sentimental rubbish? She should be grateful that they deigned to permit her a limited license!
    • Re:Disguisting! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by immaterial (1520413) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:18AM (#46417073)
      It's not Apple's property that is being protected by this dead lady's password - it's the dead lady's device, data, and property. The whole issue wouldn't exist if she'd thought to pass along the keys with her property; unfortunately she didn't. The manufacturer can give the family a new set of keys, but requires evidence of ownership from a court of law before handing them over. Do you really want companies to hand over the keys to YOUR data and devices to someone else WITHOUT a court order?
      • Yes, I do expect them to honor the provisions of my will.

        • Re:Disguisting! (Score:5, Informative)

          by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:51PM (#46420135)

          Unfortunately it's an open question as to whether information held in accounts under password are part of an estate or not.

          http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/... [wsj.com]

          If she didn't explicitly mention it in her will, and the Apple's security terms of service don't otherwise allow it, it seems quite reasonable for Apple to defer the decision to a court of law.

          The possibility that she held the information under a password because she wanted it to go to the grave with her needs exploring.

  • by kylemonger (686302) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:48AM (#46416283)
    ... but didn't bequeath all her pr0n. The family could take ownership of the device by just wiping it. The stuff downloaded onto it is a different matter, and I think Apple is doing right by not unlocking it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:16AM (#46416401)

      This isn't true at all.

      From TFA: "In her will she indicated that her estate was to be split between her five boys". This was probably by way of an ordinary residuary gift clause such as 'I give, devise and bequeth the rest and residue of my estate wheresoever situate equally as tenants in common to those of my five children named A, B, C, D, and Timmy who survive me.'

      By such a clause, the whole of the estate not specifically given to someone else earlier in the will goes to the five children; this would include the pr0n on the device. As to the distribution between the sons (from TFA there is agreement that only the one son will get the whole of the ipad), this is not improper and not uncommon when distributing items of property because, in essence, you can't really split an ipad or a chair or a bible or a painting of jesus riding a dinosaur five ways. (at the very least, you can't physically split them five ways and expect them to keep their - sentimental or monetary - value).

      Further, I don't really understand the issue here. From the time of death, the executor of a deceased estate (as a general rule) has all the functions and powers necessary to deal with the assets forming the estate in effect as though they were the deceased. This includes, for example, carrying on (with some exceptions) court proceedings or carrying on the deceased's business.

      I can't see any reason why Apple should not accept a letter from the executor (or an executor if there is more than one) authorising them to deal with the account as though that letter had been sent by the deceased herself. It seems to me that it would be open to the executors to commence proceedings seeking declarations from a Court with jurisdiction to that effect and, if Apple were my clients, I would be advising them to be very carefully consider their basis for defending those proceedings.

      -AC Lawyer.

      P.S. I'd spell and grammar check this but I'm AC ;)

      • by vandelais (164490) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:08AM (#46416583)

        AC lawyer--you should know better.

        I RTFA. The kids don't have proof of executorship.
        A will doesn't cut it.

        Certified Death Certificate=proof of death.
        Solicitor's letter=a letter from an attorney that uses fancypants words like herewith and forthwith
        Copy of will=copy of an unexecuted will, of which there may be several copies drafted and amended over the years to perhaps bequeath the rights or property to someone else. This is why people come out of the woodwork with multiple wills or the courts settle the matter when there is a dispute. Waiting periods often apply. Sometimes the equivalent of a cocktail napkin is sufficient evidence to decide these matters, but the matter about always necessitates a document bearing the raised seal of a probate court or affidavit drafted by a lawyer or a Suze Orman CDROM which includes the statutory language.

        What the children don't have is a document proving that the will was entered into probate, or statutory substitute thereof.--often a property-specific court order. It works the same in the U.K. as it does the states (it gets weird with Louisiana, though).

        The children either want to avoid full probate because of the expense or need to get a new attorney familiar with whatever the affidavit of small estate alternative process is for their jurisdiction. They can tell the 'false economy' story to folks who don't understand civil law and get the media and the blogosphere to believe them.

        • The children either want to avoid full probate because of the expense or need to get a new attorney familiar with whatever the affidavit of small estate alternative process is for their jurisdiction.

          Sometimes, I just don't understand the Lawyer outlook of the world. If everything is working smoothly between family members, there ought to be no reason whatsoever to involve lawyers, courts, and extra expenses. Yes, there will always be some people who need a legal mediator... but there will always be people who don't need the extra expense and headache.

          The idea that the world runs because lawyers exist, and that we must therefore thank them for making life difficult, is perverse and detrimental to soci

          • Re:Lawyers (Score:4, Funny)

            by epine (68316) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:32AM (#46416889)

            If everything appears to be working smoothly between family members,

            FTFY.

            Didn't you watch a single episode of The Dukes of Hazard growing up? The legitimate party is always the last to know, and by the time the penny drops they're one hell of a car ride away from interceding in the nick of time, bursting into the court room at the very moment the justice picks up the pen and says out loud to Boss Hogg and his henchmen in particular "these papers all seem to be in good order".

            • by vandelais (164490)

              People are also fickle and are prone to changing their minds about such things also as evidenced by Boss Hogg in every single episode of The Dukes of Hazard.
              Your analogy is a WIN.

        • by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:20AM (#46417085) Homepage
          No, you're talking nonsense. TFA doesn't mention whether probate has been granted but in the UK only the smallest of estates do not require probate and usually banks require a grant anyway to administer accounts. Once probate has been granted there is no reason for anyone not to follow the executor's instructions, and a solicitor's letter stating a grant has been given should be sufficient. This is simply Apple being dicks to try and discourage people from doing this.
  • by Mr. Sketch (111112) <mister.sketch@gmaiQUOTEl.com minus punct> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:49AM (#46416287)

    Did she bequeath the iPad or the apps/data on the iPad and the iTunes account to go with it? I'm pretty sure that even if the device is locked, that you can still do a factory reset on it and then have access to the iPad. Granted you would lose all the apps and data on the device, but you would still have the device to use as you wish.

    If she bequeathed the iTunes account, then the account email and password should have been in the will or related documents, if not, then it's reasonable to assume she just left the hardware which you can reset and then have full use of.

    • by puto (533470) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:58AM (#46416329) Homepage
      That is like saying my mother passed and while she bequeathed me her possessions she didnt explicitly say what I was left in her safety deposit box, so I only get the box and the bank gets the rest. Even if they do reset it that IPAD is going to be linked to their mothers .me/Icloud account and and so any imessages or Apple specific services that the heirs want to use, will be linked to their mothers account, and therefore not usable. Because unless it is removed from the moms account, they cannot link it with their own. So, they cannot have full use of it without access to the account/device.
      • by _Ludwig (86077)

        Analogy fail: Your mother didn't own any safety deposit box. She owned the contents and rented the box from the bank it is stored in.

        It's not too hard to imagine someone leaving, say, a piece of antique furniture but not the diaries stored inside.

        • by puto (533470)
          I agree with the analogy fail, but if the Ipad is not removed from the mothers account, reset or not, then it is useless even if it is reset, because without being removed they cannot link it to another account to buy apps/content/ or use all of Apples whizbang features.
    • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:59AM (#46416333)

      Unless she gave it away elsewhere, her family owns all of her former property. It doesn't matter if she explicitly gave it to them or not, so long as she didn't explicitly give it elsewhere.

      • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @10:32AM (#46418577)
        I don't think that's the real crux. I think that without any sort of proof that the iPad was hers, Apple can't unlock it. My reading of it is that the will divided the estate but did not name the iPad specifically. Without an AppleID or some sort of identifying information, Apple can't know that was her iPad and not someone else's. People probably have used situations like this before to game Apple. So they want a court order that essentially absolves them from deciding that. They'll unlock it when a court tells them to.
    • by meerling (1487879)
      Most people, especially those that aren't as tech adept as us, would consider those one and the same, so bequeathing the ipad to someone automatically includes all the apps and data on it, needed by it, or associated with it.
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:29AM (#46416437)

      Did she bequeath the iPad or the apps/data on the iPad and the iTunes account to go with it? I'm pretty sure that even if the device is locked, that you can still do a factory reset on it and then have access to the iPad. Granted you would lose all the apps and data on the device, but you would still have the device to use as you wish.

      If she bequeathed the iTunes account, then the account email and password should have been in the will or related documents, if not, then it's reasonable to assume she just left the hardware which you can reset and then have full use of.

      No, it was just the iPad.

      The problem is that since iOS7, Apple implemented a kill switch called "Activation Lock" in an attempt to slow down the theft of the devices - with it, the owner can remotely wipe the device, and more importantly, that device cannot be used by anyone else, thus ensuring that any stolen iPads, iPhones, etc. are rendered worthless.

      What likely happened is just that - the iPad got locked and is right now, effectively worthless.

      Of course, Apple has to be careful too - they can't really offer a way to unlock those devices because it's really a backdoor to Activation Lock and a way for criminals to well, steal your device and then cry to Apple to unlock it saying it belonged to their parents so they could resell it as more than just scrap.

      It's really one of those catch-22 situations - Apple can't contact the original owner to verify if that iPad really belongs to them and they're not just some criminal looking to change their $0 iPad into a $400 iPad on the stolen goods market. And they can't just take those documents because well, the family could come back again next week with another stolen iPad and do the same thing.

      And no, Activation Lock is practically impossible to defeat - if you reset it, it'll ask for the Apple ID credentials before you can proceed. If you get an unlocked one and try to restore it (with Find my iThing on), iTunes refuses to do it until you turn it off (which requires the password). If you force DFU and reload, it won't work until you re=login again, etc.

      It's one of those things - what can Apple do? Remember the goal is to make the illegally acquired resale value zero because a user buying it can't do anything with it. And any way for Apple to help this family can be exploited (hell, do you KNOW that the iPad they got bequeathed wasn't stolen?). Apple requiring a court order basically means the courts will have to ascertain the identity of everyone and be enough of a pain that even a thief probably won't go through that effort. Certainly not one who wants to be identified should the iThing really be stolen.

      They may have a chain of evidence though - the store receipt where the iPad was purchased on a credit card, a credit card bill with the charge on it and the billing name and address which can be compared against their Apple ID account, a death certificate with the same name and address on it, a will with the same name and address, and the iPad, whose serial number will match that on the receipt. Woe be to those who bought it at a store who doesn't record serial numbers, though!

      • by bloodhawk (813939) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:39AM (#46416469)
        Everything you say is actually true EXCEPT, this isn't that families problem, it is apples. When you die your worldly possessions go to your family or anyone else you deem fit to bequeath them too. It is legal and quite proper, Their is no catch 22, Apple have no legal standing here as a properly written will IS a legal document with the authority to transfer ownership, it is not up to the family to provide further proof, if apple is concerned it is on them to provide proof that this particular item was stolen. I hope Apple get their arses sued off.
        • by kthreadd (1558445)

          Doesn't that assume that Apple is bound to unlock any device at all? I don't know if that's the case.

          • by bloodhawk (813939)
            Any device where a legal document transferring the ownership of the device to another person. Why Yes it does, why should it be otherwise? Do Apple get more authority than the courts now and get to assume everyone is guilty until they can prove they are innocent?
            • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

              by kthreadd (1558445)

              For a comparison, is a car manufacturer required to install new locks when a car changes ownership and the previous owner forgot to pass on the keys?

          • No, locking someone's device without their consent is a bug. It shouldn't happen, and Apple is in the wrong for engineering a system which locks the device automatically without the owners's consent.

            It's pretty simple. And yes, I know that it seemed like a good idea at the time to the idiot engineer who came up with this "solution". Lots of ideas seem good until the flaws are discovered.

            It's still not the family's problem. I hope they sue.

            • by immaterial (1520413) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:27AM (#46417133)

              No, locking someone's device without their consent is a bug. It shouldn't happen, and Apple is in the wrong for engineering a system which locks the device automatically without the owners's consent.

              It's pretty simple. And yes, I know that it seemed like a good idea at the time to the idiot engineer who came up with this "solution". Lots of ideas seem good until the flaws are discovered.

              What is all this garbage? It was locked with the owner's consent. The owner unfortunately did not think to leave the keys with her bequest.

        • Everything you say is actually true EXCEPT, this isn't that families problem, it is apples. When you die your worldly possessions go to your family or anyone else you deem fit to bequeath them too. It is legal and quite proper, Their is no catch 22, Apple have no legal standing here as a properly written will IS a legal document with the authority to transfer ownership, it is not up to the family to provide further proof, if apple is concerned it is on them to provide proof that this particular item was stolen. I hope Apple get their arses sued off.

          It's not Apple's problem at all. The item in question is an iPad that is locked requiring the AppleId + Password to unlock. That is what the mother owned. The other thing that she had was her AppleId + Password. She passed the iPad to her children, and unfortunately didn't pass the AppleId + Password as well. The kids got what she had, an iPad without any value.

        • by Solandri (704621) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:45AM (#46417229)

          Everything you say is actually true EXCEPT, this isn't that families problem, it is apples. When you die your worldly possessions go to your family or anyone else you deem fit to bequeath them too. It is legal and quite proper,

          It's not Apple's problem. The worldly possessions (the iPad) is still there, and the family has possession of it. What's been lost is information - the Apple ID and password. That's really not Apple's responsibility.

          What's happened here is like if you bought a really big, really tough safe. You use it to store some valuables, and only you know the combination. Then you die. Your will bequeaths the safe to your family. They're in physical possession of the safe, but without the combination they have no way to access what's inside or (if there's nothing valuable inside) use it to store other stuff. It's essentially useless without the combination.

          Unless there's some way for the safe manufacturer to open the safe without the combination (which would be a huge security hole), crying to them to fix the situation isn't going to help. When this sort of security is properly designed, even the manufacturer can't help. Same thing happened with the business-class Thinkpads with hard drives and BIOSes which could be password protected. If you set the BIOS boot password and forgot it, IBM's fix was to swap out the motherboard and charge you for a new motherboard (equivalent to salvaging this iPad for parts and charging the family a discounted price for a refurb iPad). If you put a password on the HDD and forgot it, that's it. Nobody could recover your data, not even IBM.

          The iTunes account and any songs/movies/ebooks/software bought on it are a different matter. Regardless of any passwords on it, Apple knows what's in the account. And being virtual goods they can be restored for just a trivial administrative cost to Apple. The real question is whether you can inherit these types of accounts. There was a hoax some years back saying Bruce Willis wanted his kids to inherit his account, but AFAIK there hasn't been any real legal precedent on whether you can actually do that. I would like to think you can inherit the songs/movies/ebooks/software just like you can inherit CDs, DVDs, books, and boxed software. But I suspect the copyright industry is going to fight tooth and nail to try to make any such licenses terminate upon death.

        • You didn't get the parent's point. The children can only prove that they received an iPad when their mother died. They can't prove that the iPad they have is actually hers. How do they do that? Her AppleID would have given them some sort of proof as they can verify that the iPad is locked to an AppleID. But the children don't have the ID or the password. So Apple wants a court to give them an order to absolve them of any liability.
      • by ruir (2709173)
        Your reasoning would make some sense if Apple Users/Apple IDs wouldnt have all the details of the accounts, including full name and address. To verify proper ownership, it is enough to check if they are really family. What I am quite sure, is by the time you jump through all the legal hoops, the consultation and court fees will be enough to buy maybe 6 ipads, which I doubt very much it was the spirit of the will.
    • by dnaumov (453672)

      They would like to use the device? Since iOS7, there is an anti-theft security measure that prevents a "misplaced" iOS device from being activated with a new AppleID unless the device was specifically "unregistered" from the AppleID of the previous owner. Wiping the device won't help, as the activation of the wiped device will ask for AppleID credentials of the previous owner.

  • by wooppp (921578) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:50AM (#46416295) Journal
    Wouldn't that be easier?
  • Because if not, it's not like any proof of the authenticity of their claim will make any difference at all.

    If you ask me, I think that the necessary information about her itunes account and password, given that the device itself was bequeathed in her will anyways, should have been stored in a sealed envelope which accompanied the physical copy of the will.

    • by meerling (1487879) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:04AM (#46416355)
      By their request for proof, they have clearly indicated that they do in fact have that ability. Otherwise they'd have started and ended the conversation with a simple, "I'm sorry, but we do not have the capability to compromise any users security. Without the login information or passwords we are unable to assist you.". Or something equivalent.
    • by kthreadd (1558445)

      Apple has a feature called activation lock. Basically the phone checks with Apple's servers to see which Apple ID the hardware was registered to, and will refuse to work unless the previous user first logs into the web interface and removes the lock.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      The iPad is synced to an iTunes account and since it's locked and no one can open it we know it's the account of the owner of the device. The iTunes account is tied to a credit or debit card is it not? Otherwise the owner would not have been able to get any apps for the iPad. Even free apps require some way to legally verify the "purchaser" is in the location they say they are for licensing reasons.

      The bank account/line of credit is legally tied to the deceased. Seems to me Apple is sitting on the very proo

    • In the old minicomputer days, there was a practice to create a new root level account, take it's name and password and put them in a drawer in a sealed envelope. If say some admin changed the root password and went on vacation, you took the envelope out, logged in, changed the root password, deleted the account and created a new alternate account with a new envelope.

      Of course she would have to change her will ( the envelope ) each time she changed her password. Plus people generally don't think of such th

  • by dmomo (256005)

    It should be hard. The will may have said they could have the ipad. I didn't see anything about the data on it. Soon enough, it will be basic will-writing protocol to include any necessary keys to data as it is with access physical objects.

    Wills aside, I'm glad to see one more hurdle in the social engineering chain.

    • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:23AM (#46416427)
      So if my father leaves me his safety deposit box, I get the box, but not the contents? I think you are wrong, an old woman wouldn't have thought anyone would separate them. That you understand the difference doesn't make it as obvious as you declare.
      • Re:Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by firex726 (1188453) <firex726@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:52AM (#46416529)

        Hell, make it simpler, if someone leaves me their computer, does the drive need to be wiped and all the programs and OS repurchased, even if they came with the computer?

      • So if my father leaves me his safety deposit box, I get the box, but not the contents? I think you are wrong, an old woman wouldn't have thought anyone would separate them. That you understand the difference doesn't make it as obvious as you declare.

        If he rents a bank safety deposit box, and there was an agreement that only a person with your father's fingerprints can open the box...

  • Legally, the Executor of the will (or the appointed Administrator if there was no will), should be able to write that letter of consent, if Apple cretinously insists on having one - the Executor is acting on behalf of the Estate, and has similar powers and reponsibilities as a person with power of attorney.

    • by vandelais (164490) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @03:28AM (#46416653)

      They didn't get an appointment, probably because there's no substantial assets (real estate, automobile) subject to probate or they got around probate with those other assets using joint ownership.

      The will shows who the deceased at one point in time said should have the rights to the property.
      The problem the children have is the will is not in force unless a court says it is .
      There could be multiple wills. They all start "Last will and testament". People step forward on frequent occasion with an updated will or contestation of a singular will. A court sorts this out. That is why the uniform commercial code says that proof of executorship/administration, even when issued by the court, be accepted if dated within 60 days. In this way, the person or entity accepting the authority of the court from that document be held without blame according to safe harbor provisions.

  • Yet when governments demand that data be provided, all the fuss goes away and gives it easily.

    • Indeed. If there was a three-letter American organization working on this, there would be no arm-wrestling but instead we would have a nice full data dump in the same day.
  • Go to Apple store and
    - Hello I don't remember my password, and, no, never synced the device since I've no computer
    - Well we can reset it but you will lose all your data
    Enjoy anew iPad
    • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

      no, not with the new os. now when you reset it the thing asks you for your pwd before starting up again. otherwise it's bricked.

  • by Garnaralf (595872) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:27AM (#46416431) Homepage
    I was recently the Fiduciary, or executor, or an estate where an iPad was involved. I sent a letter, as the Fiduciary, along with my appointment papers, requesting the password, in order that a proper value of the iPod could be determined, which included the data on the iPad. Apple refused. I immediately made an appointment with the Judge of the Probate, and explained the situation. She immediately sent a letter to Apple, demanding that they supply or clear the password, or be charged with contempt of court. They sent the password. Thankfully, this is not a large area, population-wise, that this could be handled quickly. I can only imagine how difficult it could be in a large city.
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:44PM (#46420045)

      I was recently the Fiduciary, or executor, or an estate where an iPad was involved. I sent a letter, as the Fiduciary, along with my appointment papers, requesting the password, in order that a proper value of the iPod could be determined, which included the data on the iPad. Apple refused. I immediately made an appointment with the Judge of the Probate, and explained the situation. She immediately sent a letter to Apple, demanding that they supply or clear the password, or be charged with contempt of court. They sent the password. Thankfully, this is not a large area, population-wise, that this could be handled quickly. I can only imagine how difficult it could be in a large city.

      And guess what? Apple is demanding that in this case!. You went to the Probate Court, the judge sent a letter to Apple (presumably confirming that the deceased owned that specific iPad and all that and to release details on the account).

      And Apple complied.

      In this case, the family is complaining they have to go to court to get a court order to get Apple to unlock it. No surprise, you ran into the same problem, which is why you went to the Court to see the judge.

      In other words, Apple is following the same procedure with this family as what you did - the Court issued an order demanding release of the account information. Apple complied. This family didn't, and Apple requested that they get the Court to do so.

      And yes, Apple is absolved or all liability should it turn out said iPad was stolen - it meant someone lied to the Court under oath and committed perjury, which generally is far worse than the few hundred bucks you get for the iPad.

  • by wickerprints (1094741) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:29AM (#46416435)

    Fundamentally, I see this as a security issue. If the deceased wanted someone to have the data on the iPad, she should have provided the means to have access to that data. You can't just bequeath it in a will and then expect everyone else to sort it out after you're gone. That's inconsiderate.

    It's also hypocritical to hold a company up to high standards for maintaining security and user privacy, and then at the same time blame them for not just rolling over and handing over the means to decrypt that information. It's not Apple's responsibility to give the family that ability, but the owner of that content. If I have years of personal photos that I've encrypted and bequeathed to someone, I'm sure as hell not going to just say, "here, you get this hard drive full of encrypted memories, but good luck decrypting it--I'm taking the decryption keys to my grave." That's stupid.

    Even if Apple can unlock that data and eventually does so, think about how that might look to some people, who would NOT want their heirs/family/descendants to have the means to rummage through their personal data. You see this happen all the time--families of the deceased try to weasel their way into secrets and intimate histories of those who died. If all it might take is some lawyers and potentially dubious documentation to get around a dead person's privacy, then I would think twice about leaving any personal data behind.

    • It's actually not the data, it's just the device itself as a functional iPad. The activation lock feature requires the password to use the device even after a factory reset.
    • by oji-sama (1151023)

      Even if Apple can unlock that data and eventually does so, think about how that might look to some people, who would NOT want their heirs/family/descendants to have the means to rummage through their personal data. You see this happen all the time--families of the deceased try to weasel their way into secrets and intimate histories of those who died. If all it might take is some lawyers and potentially dubious documentation to get around a dead person's privacy, then I would think twice about leaving any personal data behind.

      Perhaps stating in your will that the content of your devices is private and they are to be [emptied / erased / reset] would be appropriate then. (Compliance rate would probably be rather high if there was an exception, such as a external hd with family photos to be copied to interested family members.)

  • Pretexting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mysidia (191772) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:37AM (#46416457)
    Get access to the e-mail address, then use the normal password reset process, to change the dead person's password..... Or if you think you know the e-mail address and probable answers to security questions: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT... [apple.com] Or... call apple support, tell them you can't access your iTunes account anymore and you lost access to your e-mail. Answer various questions about the account as the diseased would. Make sure you have access to the last 4 digits of credit card numbers, billing addresses, etc.

    Make note of the security question options such as:

    In what city did your parents meet?
    What is the first name of your best friend in High School?
    What is the last name of your favorite elementary school teacher?
    What is your dream job?
    What is your favorite children's book?
    What was the first album that you purchased?
    What was the first film you saw in the theatre?
    What was the first name of your first boss?
    What was the first thing you learned to cook?
    What was the model of your first car?
    What was the name of the first beach you visited?
    What was the name of your first pet?
    What was your childhood nickname?
    Where did you go the first time you flew in a plane?
    Where were you on January 1, 2000?
    Who was your favorite film star or character in school?
    Who was your favorite singer or band in high school?
    Who was your favorite teacher?
    Wnat is the name of your favorite sports team?

  • They've now asked for a court order to prove that mum was the owner of the iPad and the iTunes account.

    The fact the iPad is synced to the iTunes account is evidence they are owned by one and the same person.
    The iTunes account has the full name, address, and credit card information of the owner on it (unless she never bought apps). That credit card account is legally tied to the deceased. Apple already holds the evidence in their own fucking billing system.

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      Well, it most likely has her full name. Many people though only use prepaid iTunes cards to fund their accounts, and thus wouldn't have any CC info on their accounts (or, for that matter, address information, since it's entered for the purposes of the CC billing address most of the time).

      You can buy apps without adding a CC - just buy a free app first and when prompted, add credit from an iTunes card. Then subsequent purchases will come out of that balance without needing to enter a CC. It only bugs you on

  • Does the UK have anything like Power of Attorney in place that the executer of the estate would have to in fact say that for all legal purposes they ARE the deceased?
  • by Taelron (1046946) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:10AM (#46416773)
    There is one angle everyone here is missing. It would be cheaper to buy a new Ipad than go through a court case.

    Granted Apple would like that, another sale to boost the bottom line. But why would anyone waste spending $1500 or more in basic legal and court fees for an older/used $300~$400 device.

  • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @09:33AM (#46418123)

    I have read most of the comments up until now. Frankly, most seem as if they were written by a bunch of Apple haters.

    The article clearly states that while Apple acknowledges the woman is dead and the person to be the executor of her account, they require a court order and/or proof she is the rightful owner of the device. Why?

    We have no reason to doubt the the executor or the heirs that the device belonged to her. But, being unable to provide the unlock code to her iPad nor her Apple Id and associated password (which, could instantly demonstrate it was her device via their FindMyIPhone service), Apple is unwilling to unlock it. They demand further proof of ownership (or, prior ownership).

    Why?

    First, there are DRM considerations. When a person uses an Apple device and "purchases" certain products through iTunes, they have a non-transferable license to use that material. Unlocking the device, without court order, could subject Apple to litigation by the owners of the DRM software.

    Let's assume that the person presenting the iDevice is the legal heir to the device (i.e. it belonged to the deceased and bequeathed to them). Apple is asking for a court order directing them to access the device and remove their legal liability for providing such access to the data on the device and the the violation of privacy. If it were a house or vault, would you not want to make sure that the person you are giving the keys has a legal right to enter the premises?

    Next, let's consider the owner has email accounts. The iDevice will, likely, automatically access those email accounts. Services such as FaceBook, Yahoo!, Hotmail, and GMail try to protect the ownership of the private content of those systems - people have a right to an expectation of privacy - even after death. It's in their terms of service. As an heir, you may or may not have a legal right to access those accounts of the deceased individual.

    Just last year, I think it was, there was a case where the family of a deceased soldier wanted access to his email. It was denied by the company until a court order was granted.

    If Apple unlocks the device and such services are accessed without human interaction (originally, the grandmother had access since she knew the code), you have just violated her privacy (dead or not). Would YOU want to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit where there was information in those private accounts that caused harm to another individual she communicated with via those email accounts? Perhaps, she had a secret life and wanted it kept that way? Maybe she was the mistress of a married man and the disclosure would bring that to light, destroy what was left of his marriage, or open him to a civil litigation? Or, maybe, even a claim against the family of the deceased woman which might go after her assets.

    We all kick and scream here about privacy. And, when a company, such as Apple ACTUALLY tries to do the right thing in protecting it, they are scorned and hated. That's why I say it sounds like most of the posts here are from Apple haters.

    Let the family produce a court order to have Apple access the device. Apple can look up the serial number (assuming she registered the device) and find the associated Apple ID. And, one would presume they could then unlock the device if in their physical possession (assuming, there isn't some master unlock command they can send). They would, legally, have to wipe the DRM material from the devices or follow other instructions in the court order. And, to keep themselves out of trouble, delete the email accounts and other apps that might automatically log in to a private system BEFORE turning it over to the Executor (unless, the court order grants them legal and civil protection).

    Pictures and documents might be stored on cloud services vs on the device itself. In that former case, I hope the family has the passwords to those services so they can access them.

    As I get older, I realize that there is a possibility I could die anytime

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

Working...