Most recently, a New Hampshire lawmaker proposed a bill that would allow the executor of an estate to access and shut down Facebook accounts. According to Facebook’s terms of service, the company will not divulge login information, even to a deceased user’s relatives, ABC News reports.
If passed, New Hampshire would join five other states that have already passed laws addressing one’s online accounts after death (not all of them address social media sites like Facebook, however). Those states are:
- Indiana. This law gives greater access to the representative of a deceased person. Presumably, the representative would be able to access any information stored digitally by another.
- Oklahoma. This law specifically authorizes an executor or administrator of an estate to have control over certain social networking, microblogging, or email accounts of the deceased.
- Idaho. A state law allows a representative of the deceased to take control of, conduct, continue, or terminate any accounts of the decedent on any social networking website, any microblogging or short message service website, or any email service website. It’s interesting that this state would allow someone to continue the account of another, even posthumously.
The New Hampshire law is still far from approval. The lawmaker who proposed the bill is still researching the issue. However, given the number of Facebook users and the importance of Facebook in many people’s lives, you can expect more states to consider new laws.