Apple has taken privacy concern to a whole new level.
Peggy Bush, a 72-year-old Canadian widow, was denied access to her deceased husband’s Apple ID password. Bush’s husband passed away to lung cancer and left behind an iPad with the passcode, but he never gave his wife his Apple ID password.
Bush told CBC that she used the iPad to play a card game, but one day it blocked her access and required her husband’s Apple ID password. Her daughter contacted Apple customer service to request a password retrieval. Initially, customer service representative informed Bush that she needed a notarized death certificate. After Bush provided Apple with the death certificate, she was told to get a court order to retrieve the password.
“I thought it was ridiculous. 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,” Bush told Go Public.
The second option offered to Bush was that she create a new Apple ID, but she would need to repurchase all the digital content on her husband’s account. Frustrated, Bush wrote a letter to CEO Tim Cook and received a call from a customer relations representative who confirmed that she needed a court order. Unsatisfied with the response, Bush contacted GoPublic, and they reached out to Apple.
Apple’s terms and conditions state “you agree that your Account is non-transferable and that any rights to your Apple ID or Content within your Account terminate upon your death.”
The company has been both praised and criticized in the past for its strict privacy policies. According to their security policy only 0.00673% of customers have been affected by search warrants.
For many Apple users, this means that we can trust Apple to keep our search history, pictures, and embarrassing digital purchases safe from the curious eyes of our loved ones.
Apple has since apologized to Bush and offered to help her find a solution without the need of a court order—only after the story received media attention, naturally.