Life after death: what rules apply to data on deceased persons?
Is it legal to publish the name, image, or other personal data of a deceased person in social media or your blog?
Probably one would look for the answer in GDPR but the fact is that this legislation does not apply to the data of the deceased. However, in Lithuania, the right to privacy of the deceased is protected by the Civil Code.
It emphasizes that to process a deceased person’s name, image, or other information about their life, there is an obligation to obtain the consent of the spouse, children, or parents. Failure to do so could lead to a lawsuit by the deceased person’s relatives.
Walless experts share some insights on what to consider before using a deceased person’s data:
- If you want to process the names or images of deceased persons, ask their relatives for consent. If you do not receive it, we recommend not carrying out such processing. The exception applies to the data of public persons, i.e. their right to an image is narrower and the use of the image does not normally require their consent. However, such use of data must not violate their honor or the inviolability of their private life.
- If you want to use data of deceased persons for statistical purposes (e. g. about commerce trends, and demographics of the usage of your services), anonymize it in such a way that the individual would not be identified. Such data will not be considered personal data.
- In some cases, you may not be obliged to delete the data of a deceased person immediately, since there may be a legal obligation to retain it (e.g. in employment contracts, accounting, tax records, etc.).
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