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State helps parents access dead child's Facebook content

The Commonwealth of Virginia is correcting for privacy laws that make it hard for parents to get access to a deceased child's digital content.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove

Virginia has made it easier for parents and legal guardians to obtain Facebook content and other digital assets created by a child who has passed away.

This week, the Virginia General Assembly voted to adopt a new bill, HP 1752, that compels online account service providers such as Facebook to provide the guardian of a deceased minor with online assets within 30 days after receiving a written request.

The bill, which currently awaits the governor's signature, passed the state Senate on Monday before gaining approval in the House yesterday.

Two parents, Ricky and Diane Rash, will be pleased with the development. The couple, according to previous reports, sought to understand why their 15-year-old son Eric committed suicide. The Rashs hoped that Eric's Facebook account would shed light on their son's state of mind, but the social network, citing state and federal privacy laws, denied them access to the account. In response, the parents decided to work with state legislators to draft a bill that would change the law.

Once signed into law, the Virginia legislation will legally allow a personal representative of a deceased minor to assume the individual's terms of service agreement.

[via CBS6 WTVR]