Apple told a grieving father from Coventry, Mr Colin Hehir, that he needed to obtain a court order, to allow him access to Morgan Hehir’s computer – his late son’s computer. What the father wanted was to be able to retrieve personal data from his son’s computer. Common sense tells us that a father is within his right to gain access to his son’s personal data – photos, memories, legal issues such as bank accounts, bills and mortgage. What a difficult dilemma, both for the father and for Apple – to break or not to break data protection rules?
The Data Protection Act controls how your personal information is used. Those who process data must follow strict rules, or also referred to the data protection principles. Data can be used for limited, specifically stated purposes and kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary. It should be handled according to a person’s data protection rights, also categorised as human rights.
The data protection act, GDPR, is applicable to living persons. What does the law say about someone like the late Morgan Hehir’s personal data being accessed by his father? How would you determine who should be allowed access to a deceased person’s personal data? According to Apple, it was inappropriate and unlawful to allow Colin Hehir gain access to his son’s computer, containing all his personal data, even after providing them with death and probate certificates. Apple maintained that a court order was needed to overrule (for want of a better term) the data protection act.
Apple is the company that holds and controls access to data. So Apple is under the data protection legislation. If Apple breaches this legislation, they’re liable. Apple is in the position to release data to another entity but they also have to compliant with governmental rules. However, is there a fine line between government legislation and common sense? Is that fine line ever a division?
Mr Colin Hehir stated, “We’re put on this earth to help one another and Apple should help people in our situation”, which is common sense and it resonates with Steve Jobs own vision, to inspire others and change the world. Still, sometimes legislation isn’t about common sense that suits all, it’s about public protection.
Apple’s plausible argument was that, “In the absence of permission for third party access to an account, it is impossible to be certain what access the user would have wanted and we do not consider it is appropriate that Apple make the decision.” Would Morgan Hehir have allowed his father to access his data? Perhaps the solution would be for companies like Apple to ask their buyers to nominate someone, allowing them access to data in case of death or severely debilitating illness. In the meantime, a letter from a lawyer or a court order could suffice.
If you have any concerns and think a letter from a lawyer would help you with any issues you’re facing in relation to data protection and data accessibility, please contact us. SG
DG Law were fantastic throughout our purchase process. We had a short, fixed, timeline to
Venetia Lawson-Cruttenden [solicitor] is fantastic! She is always so thorough and efficient and gives you the
DG Law supported us through a very difficult contractual negotiation to achieve exactly the outcome
We were very pleased with the way that DG Law helped us on our transaction
Thanks for all the help from DG Law in pulling together our somewhat complicated loan.
DG Law resolved a difficult lease renewal for us and their services were excellent –
I needed understanding and experienced legal advice. DG Law provided an excellent service at a
My experience was second to none – the service was professional and personal. DG Law
DG Law always step up to the plate on our transactions and handle the various
DG Law was recommended to me and my partner and I received excellent advice –
Having worked with DG Law a number/couple of times now, I have been really impressed
DG Law were constantly at hand, and kept pro-active throughout the thorny process of getting
DG Law organised and ran a very useful session to help to make our team’s
DG Law came recommended to me and whilst setting up a new business it was
We were recommended three lawyers to handle the sale of our seven year old successful
We live by our core values of transparency, flexibility and being honourable – every day
We put ourselves in your shoes so we understand your problems from the inside out
We deliver our advice in a way that is easy to understand