"Loyalty" reps are "incented" to retain paying customers. If T-Mobile makes no provision for their personnel to not lose bonus money when the erstwhile paying customer is, in fact, deceased, then that flaw in their policies is part of the problem.
I think the safe deposit box at the bank is actually a pretty good (not necessarily perfect) model for personal data.
IANAL, but doesn't a safe deposit box work something like this:
- I have a safe deposit box with some unknown contents.
- I die.
- If I have a will, the contents of that safe deposit box pass to my designated heir(s). After the will is out of probate, the contents of that box absolutely do belong to my heir, and they can retrieve it at will.
- If I don't have a will, there is an orderly legal process for who gets my stuff (usually something like surviving spouse, surviving children, surviving siblings, etc. in that order). If the state gets to the end of the list and can't find anyone, my stuff reverts to the state.
- Either way, someone gets my stuff.
Now, what if the stuff in the box is jewelry? Or a stack of savings bonds? I definitely want my heirs to attain that property. I don't want it to pass to the bank.
What if the stuff in the box is a stack of love letters that reveal a life-long illicit affair and infidelity? I need to direct the executor of my will to retain an attorney, whose instructions are to go to the bank, retrieve the documents, and destroy them without further inspection.
As I said, IANAL, but even if I'm dead wrong about how the safe deposit box thing works, I still think its a good model for how data should work.