back to article German court says 'Nein' on Facebook profile access request

A German appeals court has ruled that Facebook does not need to give the parents of a deceased teen access to the child's account. The Court of Appeals in Berlin on Wednesday overturned a regional court's decision to allow the parents of a 15-year-old girl who died in 2012 access to the teen's Facebook account to view her …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    If Facebook really wants to find a solution, it's fecking obvious. At least tell the family if her posts mentioned suicidal thoughts/about being bullied.

    1. frank ly

      How would you interpret any poems she wrote or any links to works of art, etc.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      a solution

      Not sure how things work in Germany, but presumably in the UK a coroner might reasonably be given (or expect) access in the course of assessment...?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: a solution

        A coroner's court is a court, and AFAIK can order a company to hand stuff over. I don't think it quite has the same powers as a Crown Court, or the High Court, where non-compliance with an order is Contempt which can land you in jail there and then.

        Not that Facebook are particularly receptive to such orders; they refused to reveal who the London attacker had been WhatsApp-ing, despite that aspect of WhatsApp communications being something they do know (it's part of their slurping) and the request coming from a police investigation into multiple murders. So I can't see them spilling the beans to help a mere coroner's court decide between verdicts of suicide, accidental death, unlawful killing, etc.

        In this particular case I suspect Facebook's attitude has more to do with the fact that if it became known that parents could take over child's account, then teenagers everywhere would walk away from it. That would severely dent their advertising revenue in this age group.

        Also Facebook sales reps have been reported as boasting that Facebook analytics can spot "emotionally moody teenagers" (or something like that). Apart from the no-shit-sherlock aspect of that, it's f***ing creepy that Facebook are doing that, and selling that to advertisers, but won't let parents see their dead child's account's whole content.

        Facebook - created by an arse hole, continues to behave that way....

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: a solution

          "Not that Facebook are particularly receptive to such orders; they refused to reveal who the London attacker had been WhatsApp-ing, despite that aspect of WhatsApp communications being something they do know"

          Er, that is bollocks. They can't decrypt it as they don't hold the keys (the whole point of end to end encryption) but it seems it was not that hard to find out:

          http://www.news.com.au/world/europe/westminster-attacker-khalid-masoods-last-message-revealed/news-story/a178e1545e4905daf26f040482fe1fb7

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: a solution

            The article you linked doesn't say that WhatsApp spilled the message, but suggests that the UK police found some other means. Perhaps the recipient themselves got in touch with the police.

            Not knowing the content encryption keys doesn't prevent WhatsApp knowing the source and destination of the content. In fact the only reason why Facebook bought WhatsApp was for this slurping opportunity.

            The end-to-end encryption is bollocks anyway. Even with that, if you use WhatsApp to talk to,for example, a mistress, Facebook know when, how long, where you and she are, etc. And Facebook will advertise to you accordingly... So far as "damning information" goes, that meta data is plenty sufficient for most spouses to make their minds up, for law enforcement agencies to insist on you giving an explanation of your dealings with someone who turned out for be a drugs dealer / terrorist / burglar, etc.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: a solution

              I wouldn't be shocked if Facebook doesn't do a quick text analysis of whatsapp messages on each end. All the better to sling condom or diaper ads in your face if they know you are talking about pregnancy.

            2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

              Re: a solution

              "The article you linked doesn't say that WhatsApp spilled the message, but suggests that the UK police found some other means. Perhaps the recipient themselves got in touch with the police."

              Since when was the story that WhatsApp would not disclose the destination of the message? Apparently Amber Rudd was quoted as saying ‘this terrorist sent a WhatsApp message and it can’t be accessed’ which implies they were interested in the contents more than who received it (I guess in case they had then destroyed their phone, etc, if it was secret, but catching associates was probably easier).

      2. big_D Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: a solution @AC

        In this case, the family had the password, but the "friends" had already petioned to put the page into memorial status, so the parents can't access the account.

        The police have not applied for a court order to look at the account.

        The parents want to look at the private messages, to see if there was any indication, that she was suicidal. It would seem that the police see no grounds to look at the account, or having done so, they aren't sharing the information with the family - data protection again.

        The data protection law also covers WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram and any other messaging service. The estate gets access to physical post, diaries etc. but all electronic communications and stored information are out of bounds. If you want your family to have access to your data, family photos etc. after your death, you need to ensure that they have the password and ensure that it is in your will, that they should have access to your accounts.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: a solution @big_d

          > The data protection law also covers WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram and any other messaging service.

          Data protection law only applies to the living.

          "The definition of personal data is data relating to a living individual who can be identified"

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: a solution @big_d

            The German courts have interpreted the data protection laws to cover the dead as well.

            We are talking about German law here.

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

              Re: a solution @big_d

              "The German courts have interpreted the data protection laws to cover the dead as well."

              No.

              Accessing the account would mean accessing what are basically conversations between several persons. One of the persons involved is dead. The others are not, and therefore have rights re protection of their data.

          2. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: a solution @big_d

            Data protection law only applies to the living.

            Like all the people who have communicated with, posted to the girl's account?

            It's not the dead girls data and privacy being protected, it's everyone else who has interacted with her.

            1. FuzzyWuzzys

              Re: a solution @big_d

              "It's not the dead girls data and privacy being protected, it's everyone else who has interacted with her."

              This occurred to me, that if the parents get access and see messages that suggest the girl might have been coerced into taking her own life by private messages from another set of people, they could start proceedings against other users based purely on suspicions, which I would have thought would have been the job of the courts and the Police to determine. If the courts and/or Police are convinced she took her life because she was unwell and someone took advantage of that, then they might be able to apply for access for the investigation.

              The whole problem with social media is that everything you post is intertwinned with so many other people on the same systems and sometimes beyond, you can't just untangle one person's profile without all the other strings attached also being tugged.

          3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

            Re: a solution @big_d

            "Data protection law only applies to the living."

            This is exactly the point here.

            Accessing the account would mean accessing what are basically conversations between several persons. One of the persons involved is dead. The others are not, and therefore have rights re protection of their data.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: a solution @AC @Big_D

          In this case, the family had the password, but the "friends" had already petioned to put the page into memorial status, so the parents can't access the account.

          There are several aspects of this case that are troubling, mainly because of the lack of any real detail in the reports. Also whilst this maybe a German court case, I'm uncertain about the potential implications on EU law which depending on timing will be incorporated into UK law.

          Firstly, we should be concerned that Facebook changed the status of an account, seemingly simply on the receipt of messages from other Facebook user(s). Something they should have only done as a result of an official communication that unambiguously and uniquely linked a deceased person to the specific Facebook account.

          Secondly, there are questions about the rights of Parents/Guardians of minors. From the Guardian's report ( https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/31/parents-lose-appeal-access-dead-girl-facebook-account-berlin ) it seems "The court said it had made the ruling according to the telecommunications secrecy law which precludes heirs from viewing the communications of a deceased relative with a third party." - clearly in the first instance, Parents/Guardians (of minors) are not simply 'heirs'.

          Also the Facebook Terms of Service (putting to one side whether they are actually enforceable) don't allow for the situation where an over 13 user is still a minor in many jurisdictions and hence a parent/guardian have some rights/reasonable expectation of oversight and access.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: a solution @AC @Big_D

            @roland, yes you are correct, my mistake. The news reports here last night said telecommunications secrecy law, not data protection. My bad.

        3. Neverwas

          Re: a solution @big_D

          Most teenagers in England & Wales can't "bequeath" their account that way 'cos you have to be 18 to make a valid will. (And that still leaves questions such as whether a Facebook account is property that can be gifted that way.)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The social network says it had worried that a court ruling could set precedent to erode the privacy rights of other account holders after their deaths."

    Ok, I'm going to let off a sweary rant, Please stop reading if offended.

    Fuck off, just fuck off, privacy is not something you do fucking ever.

    Double fuck off because you are holding information and a big fuck you because you are stopping grieving parents finding out the truth.

    Treble fuck you because you have no intention of interest in fixing the situation.

    Facebook needs to die a fiery death.

    1. Andy Tunnah

      You say that now

      And yet if the situation affected you in the reverse, I'm sure you'd have a just as clever way of slagging that off too.

      I do feel like as it's a minor, there should be some leeway, but overall, I think they're doing the right thing. People expect their profiles to be private, that should extend to after death (and before you open your mouth, my missus died in 2013 and I couldn't access her profile to get pics that were set private, so yes I have experience with this)

      1. druck Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: You say that now

        People expect their profiles to be private

        Can you actually hear yourself? It's Facebook - sign up as an advertiser with a sufficiently large budget, and they'll sell you every aspect of the persons profile, alive or dead.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You say that now

          Yep, Facebook hasn't really understood the whole next-of-kin thing.

          A spouse has life-or-death decision making powers over the medical treatment of an unconscious spouse, but cannot access that spouse's Facebook profile if they die whilst Facebook continues to profit from it. Completely unacceptable.

          Where's the socially acceptable balance between privacy and profit there?

          Are widows, widowers going to be permanently powerless to control whether a large part of their bereavement and grieving is public, private, or deleted?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You say that now

          'sign up as an advertiser with a sufficiently large budget, and they'll sell you every aspect of the persons profile'

          I hear this a lot. Evidence?

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: You say that now

        Except FACEBOOK rides roughshod over privacy, also of EVERY user of every website that has their evil scripted icon instead of icon and plain link. Not just their own users.

        Facebook don't know the meaning of the word privacy. It's about CONTROL. They control.

        I have a special notebook with all the websites I use. If I die (mysteriously or not), the survivors can pretend to be me.

        If you are teen and don't trust your family, at least make a backup of logins and have someone mature and trustworthy mind it.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You say that now

        @Andy Tunnah

        I see where you are coming from but at the end of the day you should have had access and so should these parents, once you have popped your mortal coil privacy is no longer an issue for family members (please note how I put family members and not everyone). The real issue here is that Facebook don't want another story about bullying plastered across the news. Their actions and views on privacy when you are alive are an absolute disgrace as it is. I get annoyed when a company takes the high ground in a situation such as this when realistically they are just being self serving bastards so no I wasn't being clever just realistic as I can only imagine what these parents are going through not knowing the truth about their child.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: You say that now

          All of you are missing the point. It's not the DAUGHTERS privacy being protected. It is the privacy of all of those that messaged her, expecting her to be the only one to receive the messages, whose privacy is being protected!

          1. LDS Silver badge

            "It is the privacy of all of those that messaged her"

            Sorry, once you sent a message to someone you lost control over it. If you write a letter to a relative of mine, and I inherit it, I guess you can't tell any longer the letter is a property of yours.

            Otherwise, how could, for example, Whatsapp raid address books and send to the mothership telephone numbers (and probably other data) of people who never wanted to give their data to whatsapp? How could Google and others analyze email sent by people who never entered a contract with Google?

            And you know the boilerplates at the end of many mail messages have very little legal value?

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: "It is the privacy of all of those that messaged her"

              @LDS you might have physical letters, and that is what the German press is reporting, they are yours, once you inherit them. But electronic communications are protected under law and the court has intepreted that as meaning that, even if you inherit the password (which is the case here), they can't force Facebook to take the page out of memorial mode, because it would violate the rights of the others who communicated with the dead party.

      4. MrXavia

        Re: You say that now

        "People expect their profiles to be private, that should extend to after death "

        Why can't they give us death options?

        Make it law that there must be multiple choices for what happens after your death.

        In life I am extremely private, when I am dead, well.. I am dead so privacy for me is no longer an issue, you can trawl through my photos, read all my messages, and I don't care!

        give people the choice, and the default should be that the heir has full access to the account contents, although I agree with a memorial mode for social accounts like facebook the private contents should be available to the heir unless the person chose to not share it, and then only if that person was over 16.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: You say that now

          >Why can't they give us death options?

          Death is something that IT is only relatively recently starting to get to grips with - remember the news stories of a few years back about enterprise systems not flagging or deleting details of dead people and thus cold calling, sending out mailshots, bills etc. to dead people.

          Similarly, this case illustrates how IT service providers (and application writers) need to get to grips with the handling of minors and parents/guardians, so that a minor's digital life is respected in much the same way as their physical life: For example, when a child dies, a school simply gives the parents the contents of their (physical) locker, minus any school textbooks/property.

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: You say that now @MrXavia

          But, unless all those people with whom you privately communicated are also dead and also have waived their right to privacy, what you want is irrelevant, once you are dead.

          Your heirs would have to get the permission of everybody who had communicated with you over the platform, in order to look at the data...

      5. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: You say that now

        @Andy Tunnah

        Surely, if anything like a standard UK will, where death of one partner in a marriage then all assets / possessions to the other partner, that would include right to the FB account as it contains images etc, which though digital, is surely no different than inherting a "physical" photo album with 6x4s or whatever within..

        IANAL - (I have morals) but presumably a half decent one could get you access to deceased life partners FB.

        Failing that, gutter press would no doubt go for it on a quiet news day.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      And yet, in this case, Facebook is actually following data protection law. The family has no rights under the law to look at their daughter's data.

      If the daughter had left a will behind, saying that her parents should have access in the event of her death, that would be another matter.

      If it is in the will, they have to give access. If it is not in the will, they CANNOT give access,

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        If there is no will I'd expect the administrators of the estate to have the right to get access to her account and parents the right to inherit it (which I guess means download all data) anyway.

        In the UK. German law may be completely different.

      2. Gordon Pryra

        The family has no rights under the law to look at their daughter's data.

        As a father of a 9 year old I always assumed from that that the I (the guardian of the child) has more say in that child's privacy than the child did (at least until they reached 16 or 18).

        After all its my job to protect that child until they are advanced enough to understand the shit eating fuckers that are out thee preying on them.

        Facebook proof that there is a NEED for me to perform this role, but as they are rich and paid the right back hander in a brown paper bag to some German......

        1. Gordon Pryra

          Re: The family has no rights under the law to look at their daughter's data.

          Gordon mate

          There is a 10 minute window where you can edit your post so you don't read like that 9 year old you mention.

          In fact, on evidence, her written skills are considerably greater than yours.....

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        @big_D - This is a minor, a such they don't have an estate, everything they 'own' automatically transfers to the parents/guardians, just as it does between spouses. Although as we know, in the real world sometimes the courts need to be involved.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          But even so, the parents don't automatically have the right to breach other people's privacy, i.e. those with whom the daughter communicated privately. That is the issue here. They can look at the memorial page and see the public communications, but the private communications are private, unless an investigative body (police etc.) can get a warrant to open up the communications.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            It doesn't matter if it's Facebook or a shoebox full of letters. They may decide they want to read them, they may decide not to, but they (should) have the right to decide.

            Again, in the UK.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      @AC

      "Facebook needs to die a fiery death."

      Although I'm no fan of Facebook myself there's hardly enough information in the article to put the blame fully on Facebook.

      For example: was she living with her parents or had she left the house already? This could make for a huge difference in the whole situation. Second of all: if she did live with her parents and all then isn't it safe to assume that the parents also gained control over the girls tech? So how hard would it be to try and get a password reset and gain access that way (I'm sure they'd also had access to her e-mail and cellphones)?

      The way I see it they started with contacting Facebook, so how exactly would Facebook determine everything was legit here? For all we know the girl could also have been trying to get away from her parents mind you. And giving them access like this could then open up Pandora's box to them.

      I'm not saying that this is the case, but with these things you need to rule out every possible scenario, including the nasty ones.

      Thing is: if something were to happen to me then I'm pretty sure my parents will know exactly where to look for my password collection. They wouldn't need to contact website owners, all they had to do is use my passwords.

      Why didn't that happen here as well?

      As such my comment: there's hardly enough information provided to automatically put the blame on Facebook.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: @ShelLuser

        The parents had the password, the page had already been put into memorial mode by "friends" of the deceased, which blocked access.

        Facebook refused to deactivate memorial mode and allow them parents access. They were taken to court and the parents lost, because the German Telecommunications Secrecy act protects private electronic correspondance.

        It didn't matter, in this case, that the parents already had the passwords, the courts have said that that is irrelevant. The communications are protected by law.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ShelLuser

          If the parents had the password to her account then this would surely indicate a willingness to have her messages read by her parents, which also includes a willingness to share communications she had with others. Your right to privacy when you send me a message is as good as my right to show others what you sent, since you have deferred that responsibility by sending it to me. If what you wanted to say was truly private, then keep it to yourself. Once it is delivered it is a different story since it has reached the recipient, and as such it belongs to them now. During transmission i could accept that no one has the right to read the message prior to the recipient having received it. Here be not the case. Seems a misapplication of the law since the parents have the password.

  3. DCFusor Silver badge

    Misreading on whatsapp

    @PaulC You can end to end encrypt all you want, but you can't hide WHO was being communicated with, which is what the article said. Reading comprehension...

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Misreading on whatsapp

      Exactly where did anyone say that WHO it was sent to was inaccessible?

      That was my point, people here and elsewhere are saying that WhatsApp would not tell the police the message metadata (i.e. who, when) but in fact all that was actually said was "British security sources last month revealed Masood sent a WhatsApp message but it could not be accessed because it was encrypted by the popular messaging service". I.e. the result of end-to-end encryption.

      Please read the original AC post where they said "they refused to reveal who the London attacker had been WhatsApp-ing" and my own again, and then come back with any reading comprehension issues.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Misreading on whatsapp

        WhatsApp couldn't help them not because of encryption, but because they don't even have the message any more, encrypted or otherwise.

        The only thing the police had got is the ICR which says the phone connected to WhatsApp's servers. The same problem would have happened if the message were in plain text.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: @ Dan 55

          Can you provide any reference to say that WhatsApp did not have any metadata to share? It seems that they do collect this and have provided it in the past:

          https://fossbytes.com/whatsapp-chats-collect-data-metadata/

          http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/05/technology/whatsapp-encryption/?iid=EL

          Brazilian authorities have demanded WhatsApp hand over IP addresses, customer information, geo-location data and messages related to an ongoing drug trafficking case.

          WhatsApp says it has been cooperating, but is not able to provide "the full extent of the information law enforcement is looking for" because of the encryption it had already implemented.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: @ Dan 55

            You're asking for something different. According to the quote, they wanted a message:

            "British security sources last month revealed Masood sent a WhatsApp message but it could not be accessed because it was encrypted by the popular messaging service"

            WhatsApp deletes messages once received by the client. The police would need to look at to the sender or the receiver's phone because WhatsApp don't keep a message history.

            I don't know how WhatsApp holds contact lists or logs IP addresses/geo-location so I didn't comment on that.

  4. ma1010 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Can't speak for Germany or the UK

    But in the US, the right to privacy (what VERY little we have here) generally terminates with death.

    I suspect few dead people have ever complained about their information being released.

    As for Farcebook being worried about someone's privacy -- PLEASE! What their motives are, I can't say, but I can't even BEGIN to believe they care about anyone's privacy as a right. There must be a hidden agenda here, possibly just control of their data. Or maybe they're working on a way to monetize data from the dead, although we don't see any sign of that right now (but wait a bit...).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't speak for Germany or the UK

      But in the US, the right to privacy (what VERY little we have here) generally terminates with death.

      I suspect few dead people have ever complained about their information being released.

      OK, but data of this sort is rarely specific to only the account holder. A photo of a couple is still a photo of both of them, even if posted by just one of them. The survivor's right to privacy is still intact, but Facebook won't let them exercise that right. Arse holes.

  5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Contract?

    Facebooks defence was that the contract was between them and the 15 year old girl and the judge agreed. IANAL but I though that a 15 year old was too young to enter into a contract?

    1. Remy Redert

      Re: Contract?

      You must be an adult to form a legally binding contract. Contracts with minors are far more susceptible to a judge overturning them if they run against the minor's interest or otherwise cause issues where for an adult, that will pretty much only happen if the contract is outright illegal or abusive or was signed under pressure or false pretenses.

      So a minor can enter in a legal contract, but due to the difficulties of enforcing a contract on a minor, a lot of companies won't enter into most kinds of contracts with minors. For example, try getting into a closed beta that requires an NDA as a minor. An adult who breaks that contract can potentially be sued (even if it's rare for that to happen), but a breach of contract suit against a minor is going to be a lot harder, since you will likely have to demonstrate that the minor fully understood the consequences of breaking the contract, as well the terms of the contract itself.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Contract?

      Facebook are claiming contractual enforceability with a 15 year old? Good grief, what is the word coming to?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Minors should be different

    The parents don't want access to a living child's account, but to records belonging to a dead one. In the US at least parents are responsible for acts of the child up to a certain age (which I assume to be more than 15; likely 18). Given this responsibility, and the lack of expectation that the child should have full privacy while living under the parent's roof, I would view the request as reasonable.

    This would get trickier if it were a living child, and the parents wanted access - for example to find out if the child was interacting with an adult in a way the parents had forbidden, etc. But even in that situation, if the parents are still responsible for the child - the child has not legally been "emancipated" from the parents, I would still view the access request as valid. All this is especially true if the parents were paying for the network access and/or device being used.

    Having a parent go through a child's bedroom or checking the pockets of his/her dirty clothing when putting into the wash may seem unreasonable to some; but I know this goes on. Why is Facebook any different? Why is Facebook permitted to provide privacy rights to minors that don't exist in the physical world?

    1. Hideki

      Re: Minors should be different

      The question is more why aren't kids and teens shown the appropriate level of respect for their privacy in the real world /and/ online.

      Not all parents are good people, some are evil abusive bastards who are good at presenting the illusion of good parents when others are around. I speak from personal experience here. You cannot know if the request has the best interests of the young person at heart and it's a dangerous assumption to make, just because one is a position of power and the other has virtually no rights.

      The safest way is to refuse the requests, this they have done and I hope they'd do the same with a living young person.

      If parents want to know what their kids are doing on acebook, they might try talking to them like actual human beings instead of going behind their back and eroding any trust they might still have.

      1. Meph

        Re: Minors should be different

        It seems to me that many parents believe that their child is merely a semi-autonomous extension of their own will, rather than a thinking, breathing creature with individual needs, fears and rights. I personally have a serious problem with the concept of "they're my kid, so I'm in charge", as it regularly winds up becoming a tool of fear and control, instead of the protection and nurturing that children need. Demanding access to this data after the fact is an almost textbook example of closing the barn door after the horse bolted. The question I'd like answered is as follows:

        Where were the parents when junior was accessing the internet at 15, and why wasn't she being appropriately supervised?

        The internet is not a safe place for the unwary or inexperienced to wander without support. Regardless of your view on Facebook and their motives, the one thing they aren't is a babysitter.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Having a parent [...] checking the pockets of his/her dirty clothing

      If you don't do this, you will all kinds of things (notably used tissues) will get washed along with the giant pile of laundry that, as a parent, you end up having to do. It's not a privacy invasion, it's protecting the dark clothing from being covered with fragments of white crap, or saving the washing machine from (eating) miscellaneous keys, small change, oyster cards, etc etc.

  7. Aynon Yuser

    They will deny parents access to their dead child's data, but they'll gladly sell the dead child's personal data to marketing companies willy-nilly.

    I wonder if Mark Suckerberg would sell his own kids data if/when his own kid dies.

    I also didn't know children could enter into legal agreements with a corporation.

    I fucking hate Facebook and Mark Suckerberg. I killed my Facebook account a few years ago, and I don't regret it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > they'll gladly sell the dead child's personal data to marketing companies willy-nilly.

      This is BS. I've tried to get data from Google and FB, with acccess to millions in media money. They don't sell shit. Actually their targeting is very blunt. You can pick people be very broad topics and demographics- even geolocation is arse. There is no way you ever know who these people are. The closest it gets is uploading a list of email adddresses to define a segment to send a shitty post.

      Google, you buy adverts based on keywords and a bit of other broad data. You never get sold or given anything.

      The real duckheads are the banner spammers with retargetting that follows you around the web. Granted Google is one of them - but not because they sell your data.

      You can not buy FB data only setup very broad profiles to trigger promoted content.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Likely her death continues to benefit Facebooks bottom line, and is still being slurped into all that mush you and your millions buy. It could benefit the parents too in a more meaningful way, rather than add to your revenues unwittingly.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook

    Your metadata: Sell, sell, sell

    Your privacy: hahahahaaaa

    Grieving parents: Bitches!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My gravestone:

    "Here he lies without any rage, he never had a Facebook page"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have their lawyers review whether there was any illegal activity. Then make a statement to the police. If not, let it go. Your teen heroed. Probably because they were emo and couldn't deal with life. The gene pool is probably stronger.

  11. arctic_haze Silver badge

    The knights who say Ni

    Such knights are sometimes needed. If the companies gave all our data to anyone who wants to have them, privacy would be... a dead parrot.

  12. Danny 5
    Mushroom

    wtf?

    Ok ok, so let me get this straight, Facebook regularly displays not giving a flying fuck about user privacy, but when parents ask access to the account of their dead kid, it's suddenly a matter of principle?

    Seriously?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Privacy? What nonsense.

    Firstly, Facebook only respects its users privacy because it wants the sole rights to sell their information.

    Secondly, the EU Data Protection law only respects the privacy of the living, so Facebook can't fall back on that one.

    And thirdly: it was a child! Is it not obvious this is a wrong decision on both moral and legal grounds.

    It just go to show that most judges are indeed idiots.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Privacy? What nonsense.

      It just goes to show you are not familiar with the relevant German law.

  14. charlieboywoof
    WTF?

    Privacy Eroded?

    The social network says it had worried that a court ruling could set precedent to erode the privacy rights of other account holders after their deaths

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privacy Eroded?

      And for how long might that be? Even copyrights expire. So at which point will they start selling dead peoples data to future generations?

  15. Patrician

    I find myself in two minds on this issue; on the one had we on these forums are constantly bemoaning the erosion of our privacy online and with that "hat on" I say good for FB. Just because this was an account owned by a minor does not, I believe, negate their right to privacy.

    With the other "hat on" I sympathise with the parents who're just trying to find answers to the question "why has this happened"? So I can see both sides of this and I'm not sure if there is an easy answer; from a privacy point of view I come down on the side of FB and the German courts I think, however, that would change if it was a child of mine involved of course.

  16. Gamrith

    Wrong law, wrong discussion

    The Berliner Kammergericht didn't use the the data protection laws. It applied the socalled Fernmeldegeheimnis (telecommunications secrecy) to the Facebook-communications, which forbids the unauthorised interception, suppression, exploitation or defacing of telecommunications messages, which include telefone, wireless communications, telegraphy, telex and similar communcations. Under another law, emails also fall under the telecommunications secrecy. The Kammergericht just chose to view Facebook-Postings as Emails.

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