“I recognize the emotional toll these types of decisions can have on a family who’s lost a loved one,” Prozanski said. “But some of these issues may have to be addressed when we have more
information than we currently have.”
Still, the problem persists and discussions on the issue are gaining momentum. As unlikely as such a case might be, even if a person willingly gives over login and password information to someone whom they authorize to access a given digital account, it would violate most terms of service agreements and both people could be charged with cybercrimes and face civil action from Internet companies under current law.
Currently, five states have digital assets laws, which vary widely. This group includes Oklahoma, which passed a law two years ago allowing estate lawyers to access digital assets, even social media accounts.
That measure did not face the opposition that has emerged in Oregon.
“There is some question if laws like the one we passed in Oklahoma, would stand up to a challenge by Facebook and Gmail saying their terms of service agreements supersede laws like this one and the one being discussed in Oregon,” said Ryan Kiesel, a former Oklahoma legislator who wrote the law. “That’s a question that remains to be answered,” he added.
Several other states, including Nebraska – guided in part by the story of Williams’ 22-year-old son, Loren – are also considering proposals. And the Uniform Law Commission, a non-profit, non-partisan group that writes model legislation for states to help standardize laws around the nation, is examining the issue.
“This law is a real need as we have moved into a digital world,” said Lane Shetterly, an Oregon attorney and a representative on the commission’s drafting committee. The group is responsible for standardizing a range of legislation, including commercial transaction regulations and child custody laws.<< previous 1 2 3 4 5 next >>