Digital Transformation of Decision-Making

A research initiative of the Amsterdam Law School

Data after death – Research into post-mortem digital assets

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The Dutch Parliament has asked the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations to commission a study into the legal aspects of digital inheritances. The Institute for Information Law (IViR), in collaboration with the Private Law department of the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam, has received a successful tender for this research.

Virtually every surviving relative will be confronted with issues relating to access to and management of online ‘assets’ after death. The use of social media and other online communication services by citizens is commonplace. The use of the internet, social media and other platforms is also rapidly normalising among older citizens. The intelligent lock-down associated with the Covid-19 virus and the transition to the 1.5-metre society will undoubtedly accelerate this trend towards the intensification of our online lives. In addition to intellectual property, privacy, data protection, other legal aspects are implicated, such as the contractual terms and conditions applied by providers of information and communication services, and inheritance law issues. That is why experts from different disciplines will be involved in the team: Prof. Barbara Reinhartz (Inheritance Law), Prof. Chantal Mak (Property Law and Fundamental Rights), Prof. Marco Loos (Consumer Law and Contract Law), Dr. Jef Ausloos (Data Protection), and Prof. Mireille van Eechoud (Information Law, research lead).

This six-monthly study will result in recommendations on possible adjustments to the Dutch regulatory framework with a view to the adequate protection of private and public interests in the regulation and management of post-mortem digital assets.