What would happen to our data when we die?

In modern society, our digital data is becoming increasingly important. However, while it may become more significant while we are living, once we pass away, this information is largely useless, with the exception of our families. There are numerous reports of families “hacking” Facebook, Google accounts, and even phones in order to recover useful data or memories. So here’s the bad news, it doesn’t all disappear.

And that’s because we leave some form of personal stamp on the internet every day. It’s up to us to determine what that imprint is, we like to think. But this isn’t entirely accurate. Even if we’re taught that everything we publish online is permanent, we don’t always have control over what we leave behind.

Previous research has demonstrated the value of preparing one’s digital data for death, even if it is a time-consuming process. It would require a simple mechanism to facilitate it, so that the person in question does not delegate responsibility for digital data to another person.

What could possibly go wrong? Lots. It’s possible that your loved one died and left behind images and videos that you can’t access. He could have password-protected vital financial or other information and not left them with you. She may have remaining money or credits in her online bank accounts, or she may have social media accounts that continue to serve as painful reminders of her absence.

A few years back, Facebook implemented a guideline governing how to handle profiles of people who have passed away. Close the account (Facebook will remove an account permanently if the family requests it) or turn the account into a memorial profile are the two alternatives available to family members. Facebook’s policy is that login information will never be shared with anybody other than the account holder, even after death.

Facebook demands verification that the person has died before making any changes. Someone must first report the user’s death via an online form. There is a space on that form for you to provide a link to an obituary or news item that confirms the death. Employees from Facebook then go over the user’s profile to make sure there hasn’t been any recent activity. The company will then begin the conversion procedure.

When a profile is converted to a memorial, it experiences many alterations. Facebook eliminates personal data from your profile. This includes information such as phone numbers and addresses. To safeguard the privacy of the deceased user, the business also removes status updates.

Only friends can find the user’s profile and publish content to the user’s wall when Facebook alters the profile settings. This allows other users to view the profile and utilize it as a place of mourning and healing while preventing trolls from causing digital destruction. The memorial page will not appear in searches for the dead person on Facebook’s search engine. The user’s login details will likewise be deactivated by the company. This eliminates the possibility of someone guessing the user’s password and logging in to cause havoc.

If no one contacts Facebook to notify them of the user’s death, the profile will remain online indefinitely. Inactive Facebook accounts are not deleted without notice. People will still be able to search for and view the profile, as well as leave comments, depending on the user’s privacy settings.

Not every website has a policy in place to deal with death. Some will comply with the desires of the user’s family as long as the company obtains proof of the user’s death. A few people will not take any action unless they have a copy of the death certificate. Other businesses will make no modifications at all. However, as the problem becomes more widespread, more online social networks are enacting policies to address it.

So you’d like to take care of this now, before you pass away and leave your family with a jumble of password-protected digital possessions. Determine what you want to happen to all of your belongings after you’re gone. Do you want your entire email account to be accessible to your family? What about photographs? Have you downloaded any videos or other media? You might not want your loved ones to view some things. Decide now, and let those you care about know what you want.

Create a list of all of your digital assets. This includes any documents on your computer, images on your phone, data on thumb drives or backup disks, and all online accounts, including those you don’t use anymore. It’s a big job but you don’t have to complete it all at once. Working your way down the list, begin with the most crucial items. It’s likely that your primary email account will be number one, as that’s where most online accounts send password reset emails. Continue reading for tips on where to save this information.

Assign a digital executor to your estate. Make it clear in your will what you want to happen to your property. Because the law differs considerably from state to state, don’t think your survivors automatically have a right to everything.

But, what are the firms in charge of the data planning to do to assist? One concept that was examined was “Generation Cloud,” which would allow you to store your most cherished events, images, trips, songs, critical information, and family tree in a Google-like style, making it easy to pass this material down from generation to generation.

While the concepts of the study provide ideas for extending the life of our data (and hence a type of existence), when no one is involved, it can become a burden on families. Participants who had suffered a loss were more conscious of the potential load placed on the bereaved after death.

“Blast from the Past” proposes using AI to create a clone of a deceased person based on all of their data. Their descendants might then communicate with them via virtual reality goggles. The participants were not convinced by this proposal; only five of them gave it a favourable answer. The reproductions gave them a spooky feel. I guess if you are verified then you could ask them for their password.

So while everyone figures out better solutions, perhaps its best to make a backup or have provisions in place.

Check out my related post: Should Facebook pay for content?

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