Informational Privacy- Who Gets the Email of the Deceased? Term Paper by Nicky

A look at rights to email following a death.
# 146257 | 986 words | 2 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on Dec 24, 2010 in Law (Civil) , Computer and Technology (Internet)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper explores privacy issues that involve access to email and other computer files following a death, specifically focusing on the Ellsworth family's suit of Yahoo!. First, the paper discusses the topic of privacy as applied to electronic matter. Then it provides the details of the Ellsworth case, that when Justin Ellsworth, a Marine, was killed and his family wished to have access to his outgoing emails. Finally, the paper agrees with Yahoo!'s position of upholding Justin Ellsworth's service agreement with Yahoo! and therefore not release his outgoing emails. The paper concludes by offering a solution to this dilemma which both respects a user's privacy upon his death yet gives an option to preserve certain communications for loved ones.

From the Paper:

"If email had not existed, the reality is that Justin's family probably would have had limited access to his personal communications. Email has replaced several modes of communication, not only written communication, but also communication via telephone. Many of these communications were never preserved, nor intended to be indefinitely preserved. At his death, Justin's parents could have looked at the written correspondence that he had received. However, Justin's estate would have had no right to demand the return of letters written by Justin to others. This is exactly what Justin's family sought to force Yahoo! to do."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Chambers, J. (2005, Apr. 21). Family gets GI's e-mail. Retrieved January 30, 2009 from The Detroit News. Web site:
  • Leach, S.L. (2005, May 2). Who gets to see the e-mail of the deceased? Christian Science Monitor. Boston, p. 12.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Informational Privacy- Who Gets the Email of the Deceased? (2010, December 24) Retrieved February 07, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Informational Privacy- Who Gets the Email of the Deceased?" 24 December 2010. Web. 07 February. 2023. <>