University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Computer Security Seminars > Post-mortem privacy – theory, law and technology

Post-mortem privacy – theory, law and technology

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Isra Ahmed.

Grieving parents of a dead teenager in Germany were denied access to their daughter’s Facebook account, but the German Federal Court of Justice ruled in favour of the parents in July 2018. Similar cases have recently happened in the UK, where Instagram refused to grant access to Molly Russell’s parents, following her unfortunate suicide, or where a court ordered Apple to provide widow access to her late husband’s Apple account. There have been many similar cases around the world, but the laws once again have not been able to respond adequately to the issues caused by technology and social media.

In her research, Dr Edina Harbinja argues that the same autonomy and freedom to dispose of one’s physical wealth should extend online and enable individuals to decide what happens to their online “wealth” (mainly their personal data) when they die. One of the most significant vehicles that would enable this control is post-mortem privacy. In short, this refers to the right of a person to preserve and control what becomes of his or her reputation, dignity, integrity, secrets or memory after death.

In her talk, Dr Harbinja will explore post-mortem privacy from a philosophical, legal and technological angle. She will discuss the most recent case law, statutes, and offer ideas for ways forward in legislating the area around the world.

This talk is part of the Computer Security Seminars series.

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