Today came to the story that detectives from American Florida have tried to use the finger of a dead man to get into his iPhone. The man was killed by an agent during an arrest and afterward (which is only possible in America) was also suspect in a drug-related investigation.
When his two detectives casually went to the man’s body and then tried to access his iPhone via Touch ID. After 48 hours without logging in, Touch ID is not enough to get into an iPhone, then you have to enter the access code again. It is distressing to this story that the horrors of agents were just laying the finger of the dead man on a telephone while the man was lying down and with his girlfriend. Extremely disrespectful, but apparently legally correct.
No pulse, no privacy …
This is not just the case in the US: the Dutch Data Protection Act also ensures that your information can not be made public, but once you are deceased it is not personal data more as intended in the law, and therefore you as a deceased person do not enjoy protection on the basis of that law .
There are restrictions, otherwise every deceased person would be outlawed. Relatives have the most freedom of movement in them: if the information from or about the deceased also relates to themselves or “how they are assessed or treated in social traffic”. According to Dutch law, the prospective wife of the deceased suspect could have objected to the use of the dead man’s finger. Hopefully, that kind of situation does not occur in the Netherlands, but it is good to know that privacy thus in most cases does go with you into the coffin or urn.
… but with photographs
For the sake of completeness: this does not apply to photos and videos of a deceased person, because the portrait right remains even after death. If you want to use a photo of someone without the consent of a relative, you have to wait at least ten years, and then the person must have made the photo yourself.