Email Privacy - Implications for the Future The death of a loved one is tragic , especially that of a young man killed in war . Peace and healing for the family may take years . Many grieving family members can find some solace in reviewing letters and possessions of the deceased . Unfortunately , this unhappy task has just become that much more difficult in the age of technology . Privacy issues , while of the utmost importance for the living , become a hassle and source of additional grief for the families of the deceased . The case of Justin
Ellsworth is a prime example . His parents sought some emotional consolation in reading his final words and thoughts from the front in Iraq , but his email provider , Yahoo , refused to relinquish the password to his emails , citing its privacy contract . Thus , determining a precedent for electronic privacy is a complex and emotional matter which must be resolved
The case of Justin Ellsworth has elevated this issue to the forefront and forced people to consider the issue of privacy in a technological age . Recently the courts ed Yahoo to relinquish the emails they presented the parents with a CD containing his messages . Unfortunately the messages were only his incoming messages , not his outgoing . While Yahoo does appear to be complying with the court willingly , it seems that in the passage of time , the outgoing messages , the ones most important to Mr . and Mrs . Ellsworth were lost . This could have been prevented if the password to the account had been given to them instead of a CD . It seems that this court falls short of setting a precedent , leaving the issue very much up for debate about what to do when it inevitable arises again . What remains clear is in an age in which the written word is increasingly found on computers instead of pen and , it [the Ellsworth case] brought to national attention the issue of who should have access to a dead loved one 's account (Chambers 2005
Email privacy is established contractually for very legitimate reasons Individuals ' personal and business communication falls under protective legislation . One such piece of legislation is Bill 2703 - Required disclosure of customer communications or records . According to this bill , email and other electronic communication can only be surrendered to the government or other 3rd party recipients if the entity offers specific and articulable facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the contents of a wire or electronic communication , or the records or other information sought , are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation (Required Disclosure of Customer Communications of Records , 2006 . However , the Ellsworth case does not involve a court case or a criminal investigation , and the primary party is no longer living . How should , then , the precedent be set
One of two considerations can be utilized in evaluating the moral aspects of this question - the utilitarian and the deontological approaches to moral problem solving . The utilitarian theory says that the greatest good or the...