The dispute between the FBI and Apple over the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter appears to have been resolved. The FBI wanted Apple to create a way to bypass the security on the shooter's device so that the agency could try to determine if any information about the shooting or future terrorist acts was stored on the phone. Apple refused citing customer privacy. However, before a judge could decide the dispute, the FBI created its own way to bypass the iPhone's security and access the information on the device. As ABC 17 News reports in "Grieving father pleads with Apple to unlock his dead son's iPhone" that does not solve the problem that Apple's policy creates for everyone.
An Italian man, Leonardo Fabbretti, has been trying to get Apple to unlock his son Dama's iPhone for months. Dama passed away in 2015 from bone cancer. Fabbretti was able to unlock the phone by using his fingerprint. However, after the phone did a complete restart that option was no longer available. To access the information on the device a password is now needed and Fabbretti does not have it. Because of this he is unable to view the photographs of his son stored on the phone.
This is another in a long list of examples of how the policies of tech companies have an impact on estate law and grieving families in Cincinnati and elsewhere. Allowing families to access digital information after a loved one passes away will continue to be an important legal battle for the foreseeable future.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: ABC 17 News (April 1, 2016) "Grieving father pleads with Apple to unlock his dead son's iPhone"