Apple takes your privacy seriously — even when you’re dead

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The dream to give ever student in the L.A. schools district an iPad has officially come to an end. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
A tricky customer service problem.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has made a big show of just how seriously it takes your privacy — but it’s not just criminals and government spying agencies whose hands it wants to keep off your devices.

According to a recent news story, Apple insisted that a Canadian widow sought a court order to retrieve her deceased husband’s password so that she could access his iPad — just to play a card game.

“I thought it was ridiculous,” 72-year-old Peggy Bush told CBC. “I could get the pensions, I could get benefits, I could get all kinds of things from the federal government and the other government. But from Apple, I couldn’t even get a silly password. It’s nonsense.”

While Bush knew the passcode to log-in on the iPad, she was unaware of the Apple ID passcode. This meant that when the card game stopped working and she had to reload it, she was unable to do so and wasn’t able to retrieve the password or reset the account, either. Although she did have the option of setting up a whole new Apple ID, this would have meant reinstalling everything.

Bush’s daughter tried to solve the problem by providing Apple with the serial number for the iPad, a notarized death certificate, and information about the will — which made clear that everything was left to Peggy.

“I finally got someone who said, ‘You need a court order,'” said daughter Donna. “I was just completely flummoxed. What do you mean a court order? I said that was ridiculous, because we’ve been able to transfer the title of the house, we’ve been able to transfer the car, all these things, just using a notarized death certificate and the will.”

Fortunately, there’s a happy ending to the story, because CBC’s Go Public department contacted Apple, which led to the company apologizing for what it termed a “misunderstanding” and agreeing to solve the problem — minus the court order.

Sure, there’s a lesson in this about customer service and the tricky line surrounding privacy, but it also underlines just how important it is that we make passcodes and the like available to family members, in case something serious happens.

Do you think Apple dealt with this in the right way? Leave your comments below.

Source: CBC