Germany Court Rules Apple Must Grant iCloud Data Access to Heirs of Deceased

If an Apple consumer dies, who can claim the ownership of his/her iCloud data? This was the case filed in the district court of Germany. In a landmark ruling, the court ruled that Apple must grant iCloud data access to the heirs of the deceased.

In its unprecedented ruling, Munster district court in Germany ruled that Apple must grant the heirs to access the iCloud data of the deceased.

By this way, relatives can get information about the circumstances of death. The ruling was published on Wednesday (Reference: 014 O 565/18).

Munster District Court Grants Heirs of Deceased to Access iCloud Data

The relatives believe that they might get some information, clue, or reasons for the death of an Apple consumer. They argue that photos and other documents stored in iCloud can lead to an important trace.

Apart from photos and documents, iCloud emails can supply strong reasons if the deceased had committed suicide.

In a real-life drama in Munster district, a father died during a trip abroad. Apple rejected the petition of relatives to access the data stored in the iCloud.

When the relatives could not reach an out-of-court settlement, they sought help from Bielefeld law firm Brandi, which represented the heirs in court.

The law firm was not willing to comment on the case. Interestingly, legal experts held that Apple had granted the heirs access to iCloud data of the departed souls. A certificate of inheritance was, and the issue could be solved without any trial in court.

The BGH Ruling – 2018

Earlier in 2018, The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has passed a landmark ruling in July. As per this ruling, heirs or relatives can claim the ownership of personal content of Facebook or any online media. Digital contents should not be treated like letters or diaries (Az III ZR 183/17).

The case involved a 15-year old Facebook user, who was killed in a train accident in late 2012 in Berlin. The parents of the girl wanted to know the reason with the help of Facebook data. The ruling of the Münster district court helps transfer BGH decision to other online services.

That’s all friends!

Signing off…

Apple’s privacy policies sometimes create troubles for law and order. Once the person dies, ownership of digital contents (like tangible and intangible properties) should be transferred to the relatives or heirs.

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