Monday, May 11, 2009

Protecting Your Legacy Personal Digital Assets

Heard a great segment today on NPR's "All Tech Considered" - when you die, what happens to your Internet-hosted digital assets? For example your Facebook wall, your Twitter account, your gmail emails...Most providers of these services have policies from their perspective, and essentially won't turn over any information without proper legal intervention, but have you personally prepared for this? Who specifically do you want managing your domain names, your social IDs, reading your emails, changing your passwords?

It turns out this is quite a quickly-developing "sticky wicket" - mainly because of the diversity of digital assets you may have, the different reasons or causes you only know for maintaining them, and the different circles of friends or business partners who collaborate with you, through one or another online identity. "Legacy Locker" was the first business out of the gate mentioned to be dealing with this, and they are "a safe, secure repository for your digital property that lets you grant access to online assets for friends and loved ones in the event of death or disability."

This sounds like a great idea - but with many more variations of service, capabilities and legal policy to follow. For example, if you own a business and die, how are your customers automatically alerted to this, and to the fact that the IDs/passwords you've maintained for their digital assets are now "unmanaged" or otherwise exposed to loss or possible theft? I think we'll be discussing maintenance of personal digital assets and identities much more very quickly, as social media quickly drives up the value of these objects.

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