Richmond, VA—A bill which would allow parents access to their deceased children's social media accounts has passed in the Virginia House of Delegates. The father of a child who petitioned for the bill says it will prevent other parents from the heart-wrenching situation he faced after his son's death.
In 2011, teenager Eric Rash took his own life. His father, Ricky, and his family looked to Eric's Facebook profile for answers.
But Facebook officials wouldn't allow access to Eric's account. "We cannot help you because your son entered into a legally binding contract with Facebook," Ricky says Facebook told him.
"[I] sent a copy of the obituary and asked them to give us his password so we could look for clues and they denied us through that," Ricky said.
Delegates Thomas Wright and David Bulova wrote a bill asking for the rights of parents to know their child's password after they passed away.
"As a parent myself, I thought that just wasn't right," Del. Bulova said.
It passed in the House and a version of the same bill passed in the Senate. Although there are similar laws in other states, this bill is unique.
Del. Bulova explains, "This is the first one that I know of that gets very specifically at the digital assets of a minor."
Eventually, Facebook sent Eric's family information about his profile. But they say their efforts won't stop at the state level.
"People of the Commonwealth and all across the United States will demand these companies change their policies," said Ricky.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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