Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Web Secret #266: Your Digital Afterlife

Back in 2011, I wrote a blogpost entitled "Death in Cyberspace"which asked the question "as we increasingly scatter ourselves across Facebook, websites, blogs, and more - what should happen to all this digital "stuff" when we die?"

At the time this question was not on most people's radar.
But now it's 2013, and the New York Time's Anne Eisenberg wrote an article explaining why estate planning is important for your online assets.

In her piece, Anne asks "Who gets the photographs and the e-mail stored online, the contents of a Facebook account, or that digital sword won in an online game?"

Since my 2011 post, many new services and programs have sprung up to help people prepare for what happens after their last login.
"Google has a program called Inactive Account Manager, introduced in April, that lets those who use Google services decide exactly how they want to deal with the data they’ve stored online with the company — from Gmail and Picasa photo albums to publicly shared data like YouTube videos and blogs.
The process is straightforward. First go to Then look for “account management” and then “control what happens to your account when you stop using Google.” Click on 'Learn more and go to setup.' Then let Google know the people you want to be notified when the company deactivates the account; you’re allowed up to 10 names. You choose when you want Google to end your account — for example, after three, six or nine months of electronic silence..."

Anne adds, "And if you just want to say goodbye to everything, with no bequests, you can instruct Google to delete all of the information in your account."

Not a Google user? How about SecureSafe  which bills itself as "Swiss online storage." There you can save up to 50 passwords, 10 megabytes of storage and one beneficiary. "Accounts can be accessed from a browser, or from free iPhone, iPad and Android apps."

At minimum, experts urge “Make a private list of all your user names and passwords for all the accounts in which you have a digital presence, and make sure you update the list if you change login information.

Think about it.

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