The iSaga Continues

I know I said that the previous post was going to be my last word on the iPad issue but I felt my latest email exchange with the enigmatic and charming Steffen was worthy of publishing. I’m half tempted to set up a Letters of Note style blog just detailing our email communication. I find his point blank refusal to acknowledge the content of my emails to him hilarious. I wonder if he actually reads them or just has an auto reply of “Thank you for your feedback”.

Unfortunately, in my despair the last email from me got personal and I had a bit of a dig at his worthiness to fill the role of Executive Relations EMEIA. I have done some research and EMEIA stands for Europe, Middle East, India and Asia. This is a huge catchment area meaning that this grey blur is responsible for Apple’s relations with a third of the globe. That’s a lot of responsibility Steffen. Can you handle it? Can you apologise to me? Only time will tell. I suppose we should be careful, Lenin referred to Stalin as a grey blur and look what happened there…

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UPDATE

In the interest of balance, I should tell you all that Steffen called me the other day. He offered his apologies. I guess that’s case closed.

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Updates Complete

I think and hope this will be my last blog post about the whole iPad affair so, enjoy it before I find something else to grumble about.

Apple have finally unlocked the iPad. I found out about this ‘resolution’ from the awful Daily Mail article. Despite declining to talk to them they ran the story as if I had and published it with factual errors. Excellent journalism. Anyway, they might have seen my tweet about it as they did update the article and included the information about the iPad being unlocked. Word of advice, if you ever find yourself the subject of a Daily Mail article NEVER read the comments. I got sucked into it and 700 comments later I was on the edge of a breakdown. They were largely horrific but strangely addictive. I couldn’t stop. Like a can of Pringles of the trolling world, once I’d popped I couldn’t stop. But back to the situation in hand…

I spoke to my brother and, because he’d been at work late had not been able to check on the iPad, but he did confirm Apple had emailed him to say the iPad had been unlocked. There was a rather cheerful email from Stephen at AppleCare which confirmed the iPad had been unlocked and signed off “Thanks for contacting AppleCare!”. No, thank you Stephen.

I emailed Steffen Morr, the Executive Relations chappy for an update on the case. I don’t think I’m in his good books. He replied to say that the iPad had been unlocked and thanks for my email. No apology or acknowledgement of the inconvenience or distress caused by the whole affair. With just a ‘Kind Regards” that was it.  Well anyway, it’s sorted now but I am still furious I’ve not received an apology. I replied to him and Tim Cooke saying so.

What was also infuriating is that Apple’s press statement say we asked for the wrong thing and that the iPad was unlocked and needing a court order was based on our misunderstanding. They have implied that we asked for access to our Mum’s iTunes account rather than just turning the Activation Lock off.  We had said from the beginning of this whole affair that we only wanted access to the iPad and not the account. My brother was advised on the phone by one of the Apple support team that he would need ownership of Mum’s account in order that he could remove the Activation Lock himself. Patrick always thought this was a bit odd and continued to assert that it is only the device we wanted access to, not our late Mother’s account. But as Damien from Apple support said, “I’m really sorry to ask you all of these, I can imagine how upsetting it is, but I really need that document [the court order] in order to unlock the iPad”. Surely by this point, one of the support team could have offered the eventual solution and recommend turning Activation Lock off with proof of purchase and the death certificate. Why we were asked to provide the will and letter from the solicitor I do not know.  

There is clearly a bigger debate to be had about our digital legacies, what with so much of our lives now stored on tablets and computers. As Apple’s terms and conditions state, “You agree that your Account is non-transferable and that any rights to your Apple ID or Content within your Account terminate upon your death.” And, “Upon receipt of a copy of a death certificate your Account may be terminated and all Content within your Account deleted.” This means any photographs or documents you have stored on your Apple devices will be erased upon your death.  But hang on a minute; those photos and documents are private property. Apple may own the license (and it turns out any music you’ve downloaded) but they don’t own the photos, documents and device itself. As the legal executor of the estate I have a duty to collect and collate any documents relating to my Mother’s affairs, but if she had any important documents on the iPad, they’d have been deleted as soon as we provided the death certificate.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I have the legal knowledge or funds to go head to head on this issue but, the global press coverage my little story has created has also led to this issue being talked about very publicly. It has certainly made me think a bit more about what to do with my digital legacy. I think HMV could do well out of me as I might go back to owning music rather than a lifetime rental of iTunes downloads.

And now, apologies for the lack of structure here, I’ve just received a reply from Steffen Morr. It is so wonderfully Apple and completely refuses to address my grievances. This might be the tipping point for me to go off Apple. Have a look and see for yourself…

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An Apple Update Is Available

 

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So, it appears that my first blog article made a bit of fuss in the media this week. The BBC’s Radio 4 show ‘You & Yours” picked up the story and did a little interview with me. This led to a BBC News article which ended up spending nearly the entire day at the top of the ‘Most Read’ list, only to be knocked down by a story about the nasty people at the EDL threatening Legoland and one about a man who had sex with a dog. Considering there is actual horrible nasty news going on out there this was actually ridiculous. I mean Ukraine is on the brink of war and a 13 year-old created a nuclear reaction in a classroom. We should be interested in that! But my narcissistic side loved all the attention and I hope Apple will actually sit up and listen.

As it stands, I had a call from Steffen Morr, Apple’s Executive Relations EMEIA (whatever that means?), who was fairly useless. He assured me the issue would be resolved as soon as we provide the court order. Well I’m not getting you a court order Mr Morrh G. We don’t want access to our Mum’s data- the iPad has already been wiped and quite frankly, I don’t really want her five Adele songs and The Best of Erasure (I already have these). All we are asking is for use of the device, meaning removal of the Activation Lock.

Anyway, the issue is still ongoing with Apple and the media interest continues to escalate- don’t worry; I turned down The Daily Mail today.  I will of course, keep you posted. In the meantime, here are some links to some of the coverage:

BBC News- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26448158

BBC News- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26466684

BBC iPlayer- http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03wpzn2

The Independent- http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/son-attacks-apple-after-it-refuses-to-unlock-his-late-mothers-ipad-9171660.html

That Video Site- http://www.thatvideosite.com/v/13400/50-cent-dubbed-over-a-jehovahs-witnesses-trying-to-get-deaf-people-to-stop-masturbating

Ok, that last one has nothing to do with this but is hilarious. Enjoy.

Why Apple’s newish security features are both good and bad. But mainly bad.

A tale of the little man against the big faceless giant.

The advert pretentiously asks ‘What will will your verse be?” read below to find out my verse…

Recently you may have noticed that Apple have make some big changes to it’s devices running the new operating system, iOS7. One of the most notable changes, and the reason behind this article, are the security measures and how Find My iPhone works. Before iOS7, Apple had introduced the pretty excellent Find My iPhone service to help the careless, the drunk and the unfortunate to locate their lost or stolen devices. If you had left your phone in the back of a cab you could go onto any internet enabled device, log into http://www.icloud.com, locate your phone on a map and either make it play a sound, put it in ‘lost’ mode or remotely delete its content- that being a last resort if you stood no chance of getting your phone back.

This service was great because, even if you new your phone was gone forever, you could still save yourself from a little bit of casual identity theft. But, and there’s always a ‘but’, this only worked when your phone was turned on, still signed into your Apple ID and connected to the internet. All an opportune thief had to do was erase the iPhone and it would be back to box fresh settings. Not ideal.

So, understandably, Apple have thought long and hard about how to make this safer and in doing so have come up with ‘Activation Lock’. Activation lock now means that if you are using iOS7 your Apple ID and password are required before you can sign out of iCloud, turn off Find My iPhone or erase the iPhone.

Excellent I hear you all shout. Let us rejoice in the knowledge Apple have made our lives safer and our expensive toys worthless to any moped riding bag snatching thieves. This is all wonderful unless you happen to go through what my brother Patrick and I have gone through.

Now I would not wish any of you to go through what me and my brothers have gone through as it involves the death of our Mother last month.

Like many other women of a certain age, my Mum had an incredibly underused iPad. She had no idea what to do with it but, since my Dad died in 2010, she enjoyed playing Bejeweled in front of Corrie on a Thursday night.

Sadly my Mum’s breast cancer came back in September 2013 and very quickly she was confined to a hospice bed, dying on January 19th. Patrick and I were named co-executors of the will and found ourselves responsible for Mum’s estate. A tiny piece of that estate is her iPad, which my brothers and I agreed could go to Patrick.

Now, encouraged by me, Mum had updated to iOS7 and was happily enjoying its raft of new security measures. Unfortunately in her dying days she didn’t think to tell us her Apple ID password. Funnily enough, I think she had bigger things to worry about.

Knowing a tiny bit about Apple and the old operating system, I thought I’d help my brother out by DFU’ing the iPad. This is a neat little trick that fixes most bugs with Apple devices and means the iPad is completely erased and put back to factory settings. I was not counting on iOS7’s super-duper new security settings meaning once we had completed this, and my brother got half way through set up, it would not let him proceed without our recently dead Mum’s Apple ID password.

Fast-forward in time a week and I’ve just been forwarded the email chain between Apple and my brother. In order to clear Mum’s account from the iPad and set Patrick’s up they have asked for written permission from Mum. As we had already explained to Apple, our Mum is dead. They then ask for copies of her death certificate, will and letter from our solicitor. This does not satisfy them. They have now asked for a court order be provided.  The court order “should specify: (1) that the decedent was the owner of all accounts associated with the Apple ID (2) that the requestor is the administrator of the decedent’s estate, (3) that in his or her role as administrator, the requestor is the “agent” of the decedent and their authorization constitutes “lawful consent” as those terms are used in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and (4) that orders Apple to assist in the recovery of the decedent’s data from the decedent’s accounts.” Excellent, that’s just what we want to do so as to make a bloody secondhand iPad work.

I have always been a fan of Apple but this incident has changed my opinion of them completely. Their utter lack of understanding and discretion in a time of great personal sadness has been astonishing. For a company that sells itself on the idea we are all part of one big Apple family, they have been very cold.

Understandably, my brother has given up and we now have a redundant iPad. If anyone has any suggestions for an unusable iPad please do send them in. I’ve suggested illuminated placemat and shinny paperweight.

So moral of the story, Apple’s new security features are great if your phone is stolen but rubbish if a loved one has died without having the foresight of thinking about their Apple ID. Cheers Apple.