Post Mortem Data Protection Laws

Unless you are Elon Musk, who intends to map his brain to a computer in his lifetime, what happens when you log out of your social media accounts forever? Once someone has passed away, what security protections are in place to prevent their social media accounts from being hijacked, or worse, their identity stolen and used by fraudsters?

We also can’t help but wonder if they’ll still receive those “are you sure you want to deactivate your account, or just adjust your email notifications from Facebook?” alerts, too.

The Australian state of New South Wales is currently addressing this thorny issue, and not just concerning social media accounts, but all digital assets (cryptocurrency, anyone?) belonging to a person who has deceased. The Register article on this news from the Australian state explains:

The State’s Law Reform Commission has been tasked with probing “whether NSW needs legislation to regulate who can access the digital assets of a person who has died or is incapacitated.”

Attorney-general Mark Speakman said, “The Law Reform Commission will also look at whether additional privacy protections are needed in situations where a person hasn’t made arrangements for anyone to take control of their social media or access their private emails.”

What we’re left asking is whether a person’s requests and desires about what should happen to their online accounts and assets should be written into wills going forward. As social media is a relatively new technology, laws to protect that data in the event of one’s death are still in their infancy, but legal brawls over the issue are already happening worldwide and are sure to only become more complex in future.

Financial accounts are, of course, addressed as physical assets in a person’s estate, but what about Bitcoin accounts? What about private emails (Read more...)

This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog post authored by Cylance Research and Intelligence Team. Read the original post at: Cylance Blog