Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Bill Introduced at Statehouse

11/03/16

Senator Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton) recently introduced language at the Statehouse that would place access to a wide range of digital assets, including electronic documentation of financial accounts, on par with access to traditional tangible assets. The language was proposed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

Nearly half of U.S. states have introduced legislation in 2015 to enact the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA). However, most of those efforts have stalled due to opposition from internet and telecommunications companies concerned that the act raises privacy questions, conflicts with federal law, and undermines contract rights.

The goal is to remove barriers – such as federal privacy laws and state and federal computer fraud and abuse acts – that impede or prevent fiduciary access to the digital assets and records needed to manage and collect assets. The language would do this in part by declaring that access by fiduciaries is “authorized” under two federal statutes – the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Stored Communications Act section of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. These laws prevent public communications providers from disclosing certain electronic communications content without the sender or recipient’s consent.