Your death, and your information dots on the Web: what will happen to your digital identity after you die?

If you are reading this, chances are that you have some kind digital identity*. How many email addresses do you have? Do you have Facebook and Twitter accounts? Flickr, LinkedIn, MySpace, Spotify…? Do you have your own blog/s, too?

If you have one or more of the above, have you considered what will happen to all this digital information about you when you die? Because, let’s face it, we will all die sooner or later. And if you do nothing about it, the little digital information dots that we leave around the Web will stay there, as long as the Web exists. Who will inherit your digital estate? How would you like them to manage and distribute it?

The EndThis might sound frivolous and irrelevant when one is faced with illness and the end of one’s life. In fact, some studies have reported that an 8% of people are not concerned about this at all. However, the vast majority of Web users have given it some thought, although only a minority (13%) have acted on it. Some people now choose to include this in their will. There are also companies that offer services such as storing all your passwords and relevant data, and passing it on to your loved ones following your instructions. In other words, they offer to manage and distribute your digital estate after you die. Needless to say, there are enormous ethical and practical issues regarding this. For instance: how can you know that the company you chose to do that will actually still be in business when you die? And what happens if the company servers get hacked?

Digital technologies have brought us joy and knowledge, but with this have come some challenges attached. This blog entry has no solutions to offer, but hopefully it will raise awareness and give you a starting point to gently start thinking about your digital legacy.

Think of the value of your digital dots. Consider including this in your will. Talk to your loved ones about it. 

*Please note this post refers only to digital identity on the Web. It does not deal with digital information you may have in your computer/s or other devices.
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