What happens to your online life after death?

Sunday, July 21st, 2014

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WRDW)- "His presence is always going to be missed" said Tyesha Simmons.

Not a day goes by that Tyesha Simmons doesn't miss her brother.
It's been two years since Travis Smith was murdered in his apartment in North Augusta, but his online life is still alive.

"I think some people use it to cope. They may look at pictures, and also see what people post because people still post on their page and maybe memories and reflections," said Simmons.

That's exactly what Simmons does. She looks at her brothers Facebook page, reads what other people post, and leaves comments herself.

"Just like the feel of a sense that he's still a part of things," said Simmons.

That's the extent of Simmon's access to her brother's online life, but some lawmakers are working to change that. The uniform law commission which works on standardizing state laws is endorsing a plan for "digital assets," which gives loved ones access to your digital accounts after you die.

"Everything we do is just based with social media. Everything," said Simmons.

Simmons has other reasons for wanting to get inside her brothers online life. Smith's murder is still unsolved, and Simmons says maybe if she had access to his Facebook it could lead her to clues of who might have killed her brother.

Some of the people they were interacting with or some of the situations or some of the places he's been, where he was going to just kind of get a feel of what was going on up to that period before the murder happened.

For families to be able access your Facebook after you die the law has to be passed by each state's legislature, and it trumps those "terms of service agreements" that stop people from accessing an account that isn't there's, but if you don't want your family to see the ins and outs of your online life you have to put it in your will.

Simmons says she can see why some people wouldn't want to know.

"Some people may feel like it was their loved ones and some little private things they had to themselves and maybe feel like it wouldn't be their place to go in and look at things like that," said Simmons.


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