Adding to the list of states that have passed laws pertaining to digital estates, the Virginia Legislature passed HB 1752 today affording parents of deceased minors access to their social media accounts. The bill’s description reads:
Powers of personal representatives; digital accounts. Provides that the personal representative of a deceased minor has the power to assume the deceased minor’s terms of service agreement with an Internet service provider, communications service provider, or other online account service provider for the purposes of consenting to and obtaining the disclosure of the minor’s digital assets. The provider shall provide the personal representative with access to the minor’s digital assets within 30 days from the receipt of a written request from the personal representative and a copy of the deceased minor’s death certificate.
While this law is only limited to minors, it represents a growing trend amongst consumers to take more control of their data. HB 1752 is a testament to the work of Ricky Rash, who took up the issue after his son Eric took his own life without any explanation. Rash hopes that Eric’s Facebook account will hold the some answers for him.
Rash told NBC 29, “When you’re searching for answers and you’re hurting and you’re grieving, you need access, and you need some level of comfort that you’ve done everything you can to honor your loved one’s life.”
HB 1752 now goes to the governor’s desk for signature.