ABC27.com’s recent article “Legislators setting rules on who gets digital photos, emails after death” reports that Pennsylvania State Senator Tom Killion is looking to help change the law on who owns the social media of a deceased person. He has sponsored legislation to make changes.
“Currently, if you pass away, you can leave your house, your car, your valuables, your savings to your children or whoever you want to decide to leave it to via will or trust, but you can’t do that in Pennsylvania with your digital assets,” he said.
“Think about all of those apps that you have on your phone all of those assets contain your personal information,” said Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, who supports the legislation.
Killion’s legislation proposes the transfer of all digital assets to beneficiaries, in the same way physical assets are—by will, trust, or power of attorney.
“We all have lots of stuff in the cloud right now—family photos, maybe I’ve started writing a book that I haven’t finished yet, you can go on and on and on,” Killion said. “This is basically our laws catching up to what’s going on in our world.”
The state senator commented that the National Conference of State Legislatures reports 46 states have similar legislation. He says without these laws, family members are frequently in battle against large media companies to fight for ownership of that data.
Killion also remarked that the state bar association was working to get this put into law for some time.
The bill was unanimously passed by the state Senate and referred to the House Judiciary Committee in October.
“It’s something that’s really meaningful particularly for younger generations who are much more dependent on those applications,” Phillips-Hill said.
Killion would like to see the legislation get passed this session.
Reference: ABC27.com (November 28, 2019) “Legislators setting rules on who gets digital photos, emails after death”