Clear rules needed for managing digital afterlife

Personal data, 101 — digital legacy

Social networks make the world more and more connected, and thus, we may be even more connected with the death of friends. An average user may have around 250 connections#, and that’s far more than the number of people we used to be connected to. Moreover, odds are that you will know rather quickly when someone you knew passes, when it used to be communication from the family.

If you have different friends group online, chances are that you don’t want to share everything with all of them. Considering you’re a gamer.. what’s the use of your character and equipment for your non gamer nephew? Considering you’re fascinated by sewing.. what’s the use of your sewing patterns for a neophyte? While you may have a repo on GitHub, what do you want your account to become? Remove it? Your personal goods can be really different : imagine the different ebooks, your MP3s or other music, DRM protected or not, your game characters, …

Another aspect that is not as sexy as before is all the financial and tax-related data. More and more countries allow for tax information collection online. And this is a really annoying issue. Previously, estate-planning attorneys used to go through physical papers, but now, the access can be more complicated.

Clear rules needed for managing digital afterlife

Disclaimer

In this site, you will not find an exhaustive legal review of your data. Why ?

Laws can change depending on your location, the time of application, and from the changing policies of online service providers. The US are currently changing rights : it means that things can be different, even between two neighbouring states. The strategy proposed here is not to have legal issues for your executor to get back to your data. These processes can be time consuming and not worth the hassle in conditions where there are lots to do elsewhere. That’s why we do recommend you to prepare for an easy transmission of your belongings.

TL;DR#: let’s do the things quick and simply. A quick act can avoid long procedures afterwards.

What Makes up Your Digital Estate?

Digital death laws

As per today, laws are not uniform around the globe, even in a single country like the US. Connecticut, Idaho, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Indiana are the only states so far to have laws concerning post mortem digital asset management. And even within this group, assets are not classified evenly : for example, 2005 Connecticut only considered an email address in its text.

However, the common point is that the aim of passing laws is to grant access to the digital executor of the dead person.