Mass. Supreme Court rules that Stored Communications Act doesn’t bar Yahoo from release of decedent’s emails to his Estate’s Personal Representatives

People often wonder what happens to someone’s stored digital data such as emails, electronic banking, or facebook accounts if the person dies. This has been a vexing problem for surviving family members who wish to read or save that data as part of the family legacy. The federal Stored Communications Act (“SCA”), which is 18 USC 2701 et seq,  prohibits disclosure of the content of stored digital data  except for  specified exceptions. The licensee/user signs a Terms of Service agreement when the account is established or as periodically required. Under the federal Act at section (c)(2), one of the exceptions is consent “by a user of that service with respect to a communication of or intended for that user.” If the user is deceased, who is considered “the user?” A recent Massachusetts case illustrates the issue. Estate of Ajemian vs. Yahoo.      John Ajemian died without a Will…

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