Decision of the Kammergericht (KG) Berlin dated May 31, 2017 (21 U 9/16): Parents are not entitled to access the Facebook account of deceased children
As court of second instance, the Kammergericht Berlin ruled in a court action against Facebook by a mother of a daughter who passed away at the age of 15, and did not grant the mother the right to access the content of the memorialized Facebook account of her deceased daughter.
However, the court did not answer the controversial question on whether heirs are entitled to get access to user accounts of deceased based on provisions of the law of succession and concluded that the current legal basis in Germany does not allow the applicant mother to get access to content of the social network account of her deceased daughter, since Facebook is bound by the secrecy of telecommunication pursuant to paragraph 88 of the German law of 2004 on telecommunications (TKG). Accordingly, but unlike the postal secrecy, the telecommunication secrecy does not allow contract-based exceptions by substitute addressees.
The dissemination of information for purposes other than the provision of telecommunication services is only permitted based on a distinct legal basis which refers to telecommunication operations.
It is assumed that this case will be referred to the German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) for final decision.
- Press release of the Kammergericht Berlin dated May 31, 2017: “Urteil zu Lasten der klagenden Mutter – kein Zugriff der Eltern auf Facebook-Account ihrer verstorbenen Tochter” (PM 30/2017)
- Court decision of the Kammergericht Berlin dated May 31, 2017 (Ref. 21 U 9/16)