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German court: Parents have right to access dead daughter's Facebook profile

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe ruled the mother of a 15-year-old who was hit by a train in Berlin in 2012 could have access to her daughter’s Facebook account, which the company locked for privacy reasons.

Picture: Supplied.

BERLIN - Heirs in Germany have the right to access the Facebook accounts of their deceased relatives, a court ruled on Thursday, saying a social media account can be inherited just as letters are.

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe ruled the mother of a 15-year-old who was hit by a train in Berlin in 2012 could have access to her daughter’s Facebook account, which the company locked for privacy reasons.

The deceased girl’s parents wanted access to the account to establish whether her death was suicide or an accident.

Facebook had turned the girl’s profile into a so-called “memorial page”, where access to the user data is not possible although the content still exists on Facebook servers.

A lower court had ruled in favour of granting the parents full access to their daughter’s account data, but Facebook had appealed against the ruling.

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