It is actually a serious question about what happens to your digital data when you die.
TechNewsDaily addresses the issue – How Do You Deal with the Data of the Dead?
AUSTIN, Texas — You are going to die. Probably not anytime soon, but you will. And when you finally enter the undiscovered country, you will leave behind a vast network of e-mails, tweets, Facebook updates, IM accounts and blog posts. The large amount of data that make up people’s digital identities persists from beyond the grave, posing complex problems for companies, lawmakers and individuals.
Dealing with “legacy data“ will require a full-spectrum response from the public and private sectors, a panel of experts said here at the South by Southwest music, film and interactive conference. The panelists said individuals need to save their passwords for their loved ones, corporations need to have clearer terms about how employees’ family members can access data, and legislators need to pass new laws that create a legal infrastructure for accessing legacy data.
“I think we all understand now that digital technology is changing the way we live, but it’s also changing the way we die,” John Romano, author of “The Digital Beyond,” said during the forum, conducted Monday (March 14). “We are all going to kick the bucket one day, and when we do, we’re going to leave a mountain of data.”
Right now, gaining access to the e-mails of deceased loved ones, or gaining control over their Facebook accounts, differs from every other form of postmortem claim an executor might encounter, said Daniel Greenwood, a consultant at CIVICS.com and a former lecturer of law and technology at MIT. Only Oklahoma, Connecticut and Rhode Island have laws ensuring the executor’s or relatives’ right to access the data of the deceased, Greenwood said. This means that companies in all of the other 47 states can bar loved ones from accessing their spouse’s or parent’s data.