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Dead Marine's kin plead for e-mail


WIXOM, Michigan (AP) -- The family of a Marine killed in Iraq is pleading with Internet giant Yahoo! for access to his e-mail account, which the company says is off-limits under its privacy policy.

Lance Cpl. Justin M. Ellsworth, 20, was killed by a roadside bomb on November 13 during a foot patrol in Al Anbar province. The family wants the complete e-mail file that Justin maintained, including notes to and from others.

"I want to be able to remember him in his words. I know he thought he was doing what he needed to do. I want to have that for the future," said John Ellsworth, Justin's father. "It's the last thing I have of my son."

But without the account's password, the request has been repeatedly denied. In addition, Yahoo! policy calls for erasing all accounts that are inactive for 90 days. Yahoo! also maintains that all users agree at sign-up that rights to a member's ID or contents within an account terminate upon death.

"While we sympathize with any grieving family, Yahoo! accounts and any contents therein are nontransferable" even after death, said Karen Mahon, a Yahoo! spokeswoman.
 

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If he had used that same account from his home computer prior to his deployment, they should have said NOTHING to Yahoo and got a good computer person to find the password on his computer.

There are plenty of tools out there that allow a knowledgeable person to pull all the passwords off of a computer. This way they wouldn't have to involve Yahoo and lawyers.

The Ts & Cs on every bit of software that we use or every website we access have all sorts of one-sided restrictions in them. Whether they are enforceable or not in court may be questionable, but it usually isn't worth the legal fees!
 

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This could be a doubled edged sword...what if they get his e-mail info and then find out something they really didn't want to know....ya know.

LenS";p="49815 said:
If he had used that same account from his home computer prior to his deployment, they should have said NOTHING to Yahoo and got a good computer person to find the password on his computer.

There are plenty of tools out there that allow a knowledgeable person to pull all the passwords off of a computer. This way they wouldn't have to involve Yahoo and lawyers.

The Ts & Cs on every bit of software that we use or every website we access have all sorts of one-sided restrictions in them. Whether they are enforceable or not in court may be questionable, but it usually isn't worth the legal fees!
 

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I think Yahoo! should give it up. There is no reason to keep it secret.

You're right, it is possible that they will find something they don't want to know, but if they want to know - I think - as next of kin they should be allowed.

I mean...I don't know. I'd want my parents to be able to read my email if I were to die, and they don't have my password.
 

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It is a double edged sword for Yahoo they will be wrong in the eyes of some if the violate the TOS
agreement.
But I can also see the familys point in wanting something to remember.
 

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I remember something on CNN from years ago about a wife who sued her way into her late husbands email account for something to remember. I remember thinking, good for her... until it broke that she discovered he had been having an affair. Now the "something to remember" she'll be thinking about is the affair he was having...

I would not want my parents or anyone else gaining access to my email upon my death, under any circumstances. I understand the parent's desire to have just one more thing to remember him by, though, but I can't fault Yahoo's stance that his email is private.

I think Yahoo! should give it up. There is no reason to keep it secret.

You're right, it is possible that they will find something they don't want to know, but if they want to know - I think - as next of kin they should be allowed.

I mean...I don't know. I'd want my parents to be able to read my email if I were to die, and they don't have my password.
Have you ever had an email in your inbox (or your sent mail folder) that you wouldn't want your family to read? What if, God forbid, you died while that email was sitting in there... would you still want your parents to be sifting thru your email account?
 
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