Brooklyn Law Review


Restraining technological platforms’ power has become one of the main concerns of our era. The control over cyberspace and data ownership are among the key issues addressed in the literature. Yet, the ongoing vigorous debate surrounding the inheritance of digital assets remains surprisingly oblivious of the platform’s involvement in shaping memory and continuity. Current legal scholarship and legislation ask whether social network profiles are inheritable property; they balance the user’s privacy and wishes against family members’ interests, without addressing or even considering the corporate power at play. This article argues that we are constantly asking the wrong questions. Instead of asking whether profiles are property, we need to ask how to protect the agency of the user considering this balance of powers. This article adds this important consideration to the current debate on inheriting digital assets, promoting the counterintuitive argument that under certain circumstances social network profiles should not be considered as inheritable property, but rather be deleted at death.