Ontario Woman Subject to US Law in Legal Battle Over Late Husbands’ Apple Account

A Ontario woman is currently in a legal battle with Apple over information on an Apple account she shared with her late husband.

CBC reports that Carol Anne Noble, a Toronto resident, has been in a four-year legal battle with Apple over access to an account she shared with her late husband.

Noble wants access to retrieve a memoir of cancer progression her husband wrote as his health diminished, asking her to compile it into a book.

Apple, however, has reportedly made Noble “jump through complicated and expensive legal hoops” due to an “outdated” American law that requires her to file a court order, which typically cost thousands of dollars to process.

“It’s a tricky situation,” said Dheeraj Sindhwani, Noble’s lawyer, who practises family law in Ontario.

“Digital assets are one of those things where it’s being governed by a privately held corporation… it’s not like a bank account where we can go in and say, here’s a death certificate, here’s a probate document and get access.”

According to the report, Apple told Noble that giving her the account password would break an outdated US law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Written in 1986, the law basically bars companies from giving out personal electronic information.

“But the decades-old law isn’t meant for today’s heavily online world of social media and other digital assets,” notes CBC.

It’s an example fo a Canadian being subject to California state law. But new, already-written legislation is ready to be adopted, explains the report.

“A proposed change to provincial inheritance laws, the Uniform Access to Digital Assets by Fiduciaries Act, was put forward in 2016 by an independent group of lawyers, judges and academics, of which Lown is a member,” CBC explains. Saskatchewan is the only state to have made the act law.

Noble wants Apple to be more transparent and upfront about its legacy policies from the beginning, while provincial and territorial governments should be more responsible in addressing the issue.

“This is an area that needs to be addressed immediately … it’s very important that people are able to access their loved ones’ final photos and all kinds of things,” she said.