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    That’s Just Too Much Security Apple

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    Amit Srivatsa
    Amit Srivatsa Jan 21, 2016

    Peggy Bush is a resident of Victoria, Canada. Her 72-year-old husband, David, passed away due to cancer. That was last August. Since then Peggy has been keeping David’s memory alive by playing card games on his iPad – the very same games they used to play together before his death.

    One day, the app suddenly froze while she was in the middle of a game. She was unable to reload the device without providing the password for David’s Apple ID. And she didn’t have the password because she’d never asked David for it.

    David had left her iPad in his will. Common sense dictates that along with the ownership of the device, it’s ID and passwords should also be hers. She thought so too, and approached Apple. Turns out, Apple doesn’t think the same!! And the journey to procure the password proved to be more difficult than any other process involved in David’s passing.

    “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.” Bush was reported as saying. “I thought it was ridiculous.”

    They hadn’t expected it would be so much trouble when they started out. Bush’s daughter, Donna, approached Apple with the problem. Apple requested her to submit David’s will and Death Certificate.

    Having done the needful she waited for the mandated 3-4 business days. But when she called the company again, they said it was the first time they were hearing about the matter!

    CBC reports that it took dozens of phone calls, a notarized document, and an agonising two months for Apple to finally register the complaint. However, the process still couldn’t be completed. An Apple representative then called Donna and said, “You need a court order.”

    Quite understandably, Donna was flabbergasted! “What do you mean a court order!” she enquired.

    Obtaining a court order is not only a long-winded process, it also quite an expensive one. The bills would run into thousands of dollars. Frustrated, and desperate for a way out, Donna decided to take matters into her own hands.

    She wrote a letter to Tim Cook. In it she questioned the logic behind wanting a court order just so she could download a stupid app; that too while dealing with the loss of a loved one! She then got a call from someone at Apple’s customer relations, who confirmed, “Yes, that is our policy.”

    Now Bush could have easily set up a new Apple ID and reset the iPad, but that would have meant losing all the app purchases that she and her husband had made on the device. More significantly, it would have meant losing all their memories.

    No solution seemed to exist for their dilemma, until CBC’s “Go Public” wing contacted Apple on behalf of the Bush family. Apple apologized for the “misunderstanding” and has since started to work to arrive at a solution, without needing a court order.

    For the Bush family, it feels like trying to fix a stab wound with duct tape. “We certainly don’t want other people to have to go through the hassle that we’ve gone through,” Donna told CBC. “We’d really like Apple to develop a policy that is far more understanding of what people go through, especially at this very difficult time in our family’s life, having just lost my dad.”

    It might seem that Peggy Bush has encountered a unique problem, however, that is not so. Over the past year, many such incidents have been reported where customer had trouble gaining access to the ID-passwords of their deceased family members.

    The question of whether digital assets should be treated the same as material possessions where inheritance is concerned has sparked a lot of debate. The whole incident brings to light the growing importance of cyberspace security in the modern world.

    But how secure is too secure? Is it really worth the added misery to the family members at the time of their grief? Peggy Bush would definitely say no.


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