What is the protection of digital data after death?
by Deborah Bolco
Over 20 years ago, Stefano Rodotà (who was an Italian jurist (professor of civil law) and politician and among others, the first Italian privacy guarantor) introduced for the first time the concept of “electronic body”, a category born from the observation of the transformations that the use of technology could imply on human identity.
Today, more than ever, individuals are increasingly present on the network and leave more or less tangible signs of their passage. In this regard, all the contents created or in any case referable to the subject and on which he/she can boast an exclusive and absolute property right, whether or not suitable to economic evaluation, constitute a real ‘digital heritage’: just think about cryptocurrencies, text documents, images and videos, software, e-books but also electronic correspondence or access and protection credentials.
Qualifying these contents as ‘digital assets’ raises a series of issues of great interest from a civil law point of view, for example that of their transmissibility mortis causa.