View Full Version : Yahoo refuses to realease dead Marines E-mail

12-21-04, 11:19 PM
WIXOM, Michigan (AP) -- The family of a Marine killed in Iraq is pleading with Internet giant Yahoo! for access to his e-mail account, which the company says is off-limits under its privacy policy.

Lance Cpl. Justin M. Ellsworth, 20, was killed by a roadside bomb on November 13 during a foot patrol in Al Anbar province. The family wants the complete e-mail file that Justin maintained, including notes to and from others.

"I want to be able to remember him in his words. I know he thought he was doing what he needed to do. I want to have that for the future," said John Ellsworth, Justin's father. "It's the last thing I have of my son."

But without the account's password, the request has been repeatedly denied. In addition, Yahoo! policy calls for erasing all accounts that are inactive for 90 days. Yahoo! also maintains that all users agree at sign-up that rights to a member's ID or contents within an account terminate upon death.

"While we sympathize with any grieving family, Yahoo! accounts and any contents therein are nontransferable" even after death, said Karen Mahon, a Yahoo! spokeswoman.

These people need a boot in thier A$$!

12-21-04, 11:33 PM
yep thats the truth its a shame....

12-22-04, 01:16 AM
While unfortunate, this does reinforce the importance of making sure your Powers of Attorney and Will is SQUARED AWAY TIGHT before you deploy... I have a feeling that if the parents had a GPoA or had been left the account in his will, this wouldn't have become an issue.

12-22-04, 08:02 AM
legal Issues? THAT is the problem with this world. everyone is worried about things that are NOT important! what about feeling? what about HEART? and sympathy? adn GRATITTUDE?

12-22-04, 08:04 AM
Amen HardJedi.

12-22-04, 08:06 AM
I feel they should release the password...

I happened to know Roger's...We had no secrets....

There could be a lot of memories in there...

That is all we can hold on to.....


12-22-04, 09:56 AM
I think that is rotton.. I use yahoo and now I might have to think different about it. They are having no sympathy for the family at all. I think there needs to be a petition taken and taken to court. this is a case that the family should win.. Yahoo can kiss my rear..

12-22-04, 10:04 AM
Yahoo sucks. It has always sucked. I had a Yahoo account and got rid of it because of their asinine policies and imbecilic behavior.
I have had nothing to do with them for over two years. You know what. I don't miss them. I agree with hardjedi.

12-22-04, 10:21 AM
Oh I agree as well..

12-22-04, 10:35 AM
It's time to Boycott yahoo. Give the family access to the account.

12-22-04, 10:37 AM
Has the family check with the Family Readiness Office of his unit?

If Marines are headed overseas, they usually do a power of attorney prior to the ship date. Every unit my husband was in - and the ones my son has served with - all required wills and power of attorney forms as part of the pre-deployment paperwork.

12-22-04, 10:40 AM
But the way that yahoo is the probably wouldnt take that.. I have fought with some places when my husband was deployed and I had power of attorney.. trust me it isnt always easy

12-22-04, 11:23 AM
I live in the Detroit area and what they are saying is that the family has an attorney and they are going to address this issue. He did get a power of attorney and it is his father. Still yahoo will not agree to let the father have the password. The local news agrees with all of us but they are pointing out that if Yahoo does this then what about a bad relationship with the parents. This is a special situation and Yahoo should give up the passward and the the parents grieve in peace.

12-22-04, 11:53 AM
Amen.. I am glad to hear that big. I think yahoo needs to be boycotted just for the crap that they are doing. They think that a power of attorney is just a piece of paper.. what they dont realize is that it is much more than that.. but they are not the only company that feels that way

12-22-04, 01:28 PM
Boycott SBC as well, that is their ISP.
Sending them E-Mails is like sending water down a well.
Never the less I sent one.
I ain't never minded letting someone know how I feel.

12-22-04, 01:29 PM
what address do you send to for yahoo.. i will send them one as well and give them a piece of my mind?

12-22-04, 02:11 PM
Agreed. This is bullsh*t. It was dicey enough before, but with a PoA, there isn't even a shifty legal refuge for this one... Yahoo needs to get their heads on straight.

12-22-04, 02:25 PM
Yes they do.. But i know from experience and alot of yelling that there are some places that dont look at a power of attorney as a legal paper.. I had that problem when i went to get plates for my husbands truck when he was on deployment and I had his power of attorney.. it took me fighting with them for 3 days and then getting navy legal involved in the situation.

12-22-04, 05:51 PM
Yeah. Legal issues. We shouldn't be killing all the muslims, we should be killing all the lawyers.

12-22-04, 07:01 PM
E-mail privacy and the deceased
Hackers Offer To Help Get Slain Marine's Yahoo E-Mail
POSTED: 11:29 am PST December 22, 2004

WIXOM, Mich. -- Computer hackers and lawyers from across the nation are offering to help a Michigan family access the e-mail of a Camp Pendleton Marine killed in Iraq.

The family of Lance Cpl. Justin Ellsworth says it wants to get into his Yahoo account so it can remember him in his own words. However, it hasn't persuaded the Internet company to abandon its policy to not give out anyone's password.

Ellsworth, 29, of Mount Pleasant, Mich., was killed by a roadside bomb during a foot patrol in the Anbar province of Iraq last month. He was a member of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

Now lawyers are offering to help fight Yahoo, and computer hackers say they'll try to crack his password for free.

Yahoo says it deletes any account that's been idle for 90 days. Ellsworth was killed in Iraq on Nov. 3, meaning at the latest his account would be erased Feb. 1.


12-22-04, 08:14 PM
Its good to see that there are people who want to help this family.. I think their wishes should be granted to them..

12-23-04, 01:12 PM
Great idea. Let's delete Yahoo.

12-23-04, 01:36 PM
Even if you concede that there is a need for a personal privacy policy for Yahoo, most of the time those policies are established to protect the company from a lawsuit for invasion of privacy. In this case who the hell would sue? That's really the problem here. Nothing wrong with having a policy, but every policy should have people enforcing it who use their God given common sense, who make exceptions to the policy when necessary.

I guarantee you that if enough people make enough noise about this, some high up at Yahoo will back down and blame someone down the chain.

12-23-04, 01:39 PM
that might be the case.. but the thing is you are dealing with a corporation and very seldom will they back down.. to them this is nothing.. they think that since they have millions of people who use yahoo that they are set.. i think its time that people boycott yahoo and go to using MSN or even hotmail.. if you chat on yahoo go to using msn messenger.. it does the same thing.. That is just how i feel about the whole situation.. if it come to push and shove i would have a hacker gain access to the account.. that would be of assistance to them.. since they have had some say that they would do it for free for them.. they should go for it..

12-23-04, 02:02 PM
Unfortunately, people leaving Yahoo and going somewhere else probably won't have enough of an effect before the files are destroyed. But enough bad publicity would do it. This is just the sort of thing that 20/20 or Dateline would love to put on.

12-23-04, 02:12 PM
heck yeah it would be.. i just cant stand what they are doing..the family needs to get with the news and do all kinds of special reports on it.. but in the mean time have someone trying to get the password thru a hacker..

12-23-04, 04:49 PM
Gunny, here's the problem. That password is stored on a Yahoo! server, internal to the company. To obtain that password covertly would be incredibly difficult without help from the inside, and even then, it may still not be possible. I could go into the details on that, but suffice to say that unless that Marine gave his PW to someone else, it would be quite a task to hack the system, quite possibly beyond the scope of normal abilities. Am I saying that there's NO WAY it could be done? No. But it's highly unlikely.

12-23-04, 05:04 PM
I guarantee you that if enough people make enough noise about this, some high up at Yahoo will back down and blame someone down the chain.

Unfortunately, people leaving Yahoo and going somewhere else probably won't have enough of an effect before the files are destroyed. But enough bad publicity would do it
Every one is right on this. Yahoo is a suck ass outfit that is totaly implacable. I know this from personal exprience with them.
People leaving would have to exceed those joining in order to show effect.

That password is stored on a Yahoo! server, internal to the company. To obtain that password covertly would be incredibly difficult
I agree.
Now all that being said. We are Marines. Screw the facts. Let's go get em.

12-23-04, 06:14 PM
I don't think they should give it up, yeah he's dead, but he clicked on the "yes, i agree" to terms of service for the yahoo account. If they allow this, where do you draw the line for another instance like this? My heart goes out to the family, but what will getting his email do for them?

12-23-04, 06:46 PM
Originally posted by HardJedi
Lance Cpl. Justin M. Ellsworth, 20, was killed by a roadside bomb on November 13 during a foot patrol in Al Anbar province. The family wants the complete e-mail file that Justin maintained, including notes to and from others.

I disagree, if that Marine wanted someone else to read his email, he would have provided for that to occur.

In Nam, we went through a WIA or KIA's mail, and personal belonging before sending them home, so that the family would not have a different view of their son, husband then they already had.

What if he was emailing someone some x-rated pic's, or corresponding with others about why he left home, to join the Marines, because of his family life?

If he had written something for them to read all he had to do was to push the ENTER button, if its in draft form, then he hadn't completed a message and time and circumstances might have changed that.

What if he had left a will leaving things for others and not his folks, relatives and now the family wants to use that information to obtain or fight that deceision? perhaps there is something there he never intended for them to know about or to have?

He died with those secrets they are his and leave it alone. Remember him for what you know, not for what he didn't tell you!

12-23-04, 07:05 PM
yep cook i have to agree with you on this one my brother...

12-23-04, 07:33 PM
The family has a Power of Attorney. There is implcation there that is quite clear. He wanted them to have that acess.
That is his decision and one his family is free to interpet.
Yes. We did do that in Nam. I never held with it, but that was Military Regulation.
What's in Yahoo has nothing to do with the Military. I imagine that his family is well aware of his warts.
Mine were. I was reported dead twice. Even got in the paper.
My dad went through my things but only to see what I had.
He knew a official visit was pending. When it never arrived he knew what had happened.
(Lot's of people with the same name over there, some did not make it back. One was a distant cousin.)
Never had any problems and nothing was ever said.
My family knew me.
We can carry this "let's protect" business out to an infinite distance and never draw a line.
This is family business not military.
Let them have the E-Mails.
I supect if they were strong enough to let him go in and support him they are strong enough to handle the freight.
Yahoo is wrong!

12-23-04, 07:38 PM
Now I see Cooks opinion.. I have to say that the way that he is stating it makes alot of sence.. I have to actually agree with what he has said and how he said it.. I actually have given my husband my password to my accounts so no matter what happens he can see.. Heck I never have anything in there that he cant see so there is no reason not to give him the password. Heck I even have the password to his accounts so I guess you can say if there is nothing to hide then there would not have been anything wrong with him giving them the access.. I guess you can say there are parts that i am skeptical about.

12-23-04, 07:47 PM
so I guess you can say if there is nothing to hide then there would not have been anything wrong with him giving them the access
We can never know what was in his mind. We can only guess. I say again. It is his family's right to interpet his desires, and they do that based on knowing him, and his giving them a POA.
As a young man he probably thought he would live forever.
I did as a youth in Nam. So did others. I protected my privacy based on that presumtion, not because I did not want my parents to know anything. Had I died I would have had no problems with everything being given to my parents.
I say if he gave them a POA he was indicating his desires. Now it is up to the family.As to Yahoo and their TOS, it works when it is convient for them and does not when it is inconvienent. Also the TOS is subject to legal interpertation just like all other agreements. I am not going to think less or more of them if they surrender the E-Mails up.
I don't like them anyway.

12-23-04, 08:15 PM
The individual he received emails from.

Did they give up their rights to privacy to his parents to read what they shared with him, because they have power of attorney?

Did those individuals want their emails to him shared with others?Or with his family members?

If they did, then they can provide that information from their own sources.

12-23-04, 09:41 PM
You bring forth legal justifications.
That particular matter would be Civil. That would be up to the people that sent the E.Mail.
Courts have held that E-mail, much like any other item, once delivered belongs to the recipient.
Those who sent e-Mails are free to put in their two cents worth.
There is a presumption here I find disturbing. Why do we presume there is anything that that should not be seen?
Again. I say this is a Family matter and I support the Family. Would I have different feelings about it were my son, (yes I have one the right age)?
I would discuss it with him, which is what may have happened with this son and his family, then make my decision based on that conversation and my own feelings at the time.
Yahoo is wrong. The POA is the deciding instrument. That also is Law, is it not?

03-01-05, 12:33 PM
Update: WIXOM, Mich. -- Officials for the Internet company Yahoo! have taken action to preserve the e-mail account of a Michigan Marine killed in Iraq.

Should Family Have Access To E-Mail?
Read Yahoo! Privacy Policy

Lance Corp. Justin Ellsworth's father is in a legal battle over access to Justin's Yahoo! e-mail account.

John Ellsworth pleaded with Yahoo! to give him access to his son's account. He wants to fulfill the family's wish of knowing Justin's last words, photographs and thoughts from Iraq.

The family's request was denied. Yahoo! says releasing those messages will violate the privacy rights of the deceased, but it is working with the family on a solution.

Meanwhile, Ellsworth's family has learned that the young Marine was awarded a Bronze Star.