Digital AfterLife

The implications of the emerging information society, what it means for digital preservation, and its impact on individuals have always been personal interests. These interests featured in the article “Plenty of Room at the Bottom? Personal Digital Libraries and Collections” a few years ago. One aspect that article touched on was the issues of “digital estates” and how they would be dealt with in future. At the time I speculated:

“It does not seem too far-fetched to suggest that in time we may see the emergence of “digital executors” with access to secure digital safe-deposit boxes storing passwords and access rights.”

So yesterday’s article in the Guardian newspaper  on Preparing for the digital after life struck a chord. The article addresses how should we deal with web users’ Facebook, PayPal and other accounts when they log off for good? Amongst other things it mentions a number of emerging services:

“After setting up an account with Legacy Locker, users can upload login details for digital assets and specify who will receive them posthumously. AssetLock offers a similar “electronic safe deposit box”, while Slightly Morbid allows members to send an email from beyond, giving them the ultimate final word. Deathswitch is an automated system that prompts users for their password on a regular basis. If it has not been received after several prompts, the system deduces the user is “dead or critically disabled” and messages are sent to pre-selected recipients.”

Fascinating stuff but I can think of several  people with overfull mailboxes who had better not apply for the Deathswitch service…

One Response to “Digital AfterLife”

  1. Neil Beagrie on 26 Jan 2010 at 8:55 am

    Another recent article on this theme but from a USA perspective is “Web sites let online lives outlast the dearly departed” by Michael S. Rosenwald in the Washington Post for Monday, January 25, 2010.
    With thanks for Jeff Ubois who spotted this.

Trackback this Post | Feed on comments to this Post

Leave your Comment