Virginia Bill Seeks to Protect Digital Privacy After Death

The 2015 Virginia General Assembly has passed a bill that is now awaiting Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s signature. It is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. The Privacy Expectation Afterlife and Choices Act aims to assure that a person’s electronic footprint remains off-limits after death — even to his or her close kin — except under very strictly controlled circumstances.

The legislation gives the executor of an estate limited access to a deceased person’s online accounts for the purpose of settling the estate. But the contents of his or her correspondence can’t be disclosed except as provided in advance by a will or an agreement with an Internet service provider.

The current status of the bill may be found at: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?151+sum+SB1450.

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