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Court verdict: Apple must grant heirs access to the iCloud account of a deceased


The Münster district court has ordered Apple to grant the heirs of a deceased iCloud user access to its data. The relatives hope for information about the circumstances of death.

Apple must grant the heirs of an iCloud user access to the deceased user's account. This was decided by the district court of Münster in a ruling published on Wednesday (Ref .: 014 O 565/18). The heirs hope that the data stored in iCloud will provide insights into the reasons that led to the death of the Apple customer from Münsterland. ICloud stores photos, emails, and other documents.

According to the Bielefeld law firm Brandi, who represented the heirs in court, the father died during a trip abroad. Apple has rejected the desire of relatives to gain access to the data stored in the iCloud out of court.

The company did not want to comment on the case. Experts pointed out, however, that the iPhone group in the past in similar cases, the heirs have made possible access to iCloud data of the deceased even without trial. The submission of a certificate of inheritance was sufficient. In other cases, it needed a court order.

BGH had judged Facebook in 2018

In the case before the district court Münster negotiated the Apple Distribution International ULC was complained. The Apple subsidiary in Ireland is the contract partner for iCloud users in Germany.

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) had passed a landmark ruling last July, according to which personal content in the network generally falls to the heirs. There is no reason to treat digital content differently from letters or diaries (Az III ZR 183/17).

The case involved the Facebook account of a 15-year-old who had fallen in front of a subway in late 2012 in Berlin. The parents wanted to clarify with the help of Facebook data, whether their daughter has committed suicide or has crashed. With the judgment of the regional court Münster the BGH decision is transferred to other on-line services.

Source: spiegel

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