The “Digital Will” under Italian Law

The Italian Privacy Code, amended by the GDPR, now regulates the digital identity, i.e. the status of social profiles and online accounts after the death of the owner.

Article 2-terdecies of the Code introduced the rights to the protection of personal data of deceased people, which may be enjoyed by third subjects having a special interest in the matter, or subjects protecting the deceased’s interest or acting for worthy family reasons – unless this has been expressly prohibited by the deceased.

Therefore, legitimacy has been given to the opportunity to draft a digital Will with which the owner of social profiles and online accounts can manage his data after his death.

As regards the form of the Will, this may concern all or some of the rights relating to the digital identity. In addition, the will must be expressed in writing and in a clear, specific, free and informed manner.
The basic requirement is that the Will must not have detrimental effects on the property rights of third parties arising from the death of the concerned person.
However, once the will has been drafted, it can be amended or revoked at any time by the owner.

Specifically, the rights to which the Italian Data Protection Code refers are:

  1. Data access;
  2. Modification of data;
  3. Data removal;
  4. Restriction on the use of data;
  5. Data Transferability;
  6. Opposition to data use;

The social network of Facebook has already provided a tool to protect the digital identity, allowing the selection of a legacy contact that will have the profile of the deceased.

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