Preserving Your (Online) Life After Death

Sure, you have a lot to do today -- laundry, bills, dinner -- but it's never too early to start planning for your digital afterlife, the fate of your numerous online accounts once you shed this mortal coil.

Facebook, Google, Twitter and other sites have different policies on dealing with dead users. Some states are also considering laws that would automatically give loved ones access to, though not control of, their dead relative's digital accounts, unless otherwise specified.

Unless you take action, you might not like the outcome: Would you want to give your spouse automatic access to your email correspondences? Should parents automatically be able to browse through a deceased child's online dating profile?

Now that you're mulling your eventual demise, here's a look at how some of the biggest Internet companies deal with deceased users' accounts and what you can do to control your information.

GOOGLE

The company behind Gmail and Google Plus has a tool that lets you decide what happens with your account after you die or become inactive online for another reason, such as moving to a deserted island off the grid with no Internet access. The tool is called "inactive account manager."

You can choose to have your data deleted after three, six or 12 months of inactivity. Or you can choose someone, such as a parent or a spouse, to receive the data. The tool covers not just email but also other Google services such as Google Plus, YouTube and Blogger.

Before deleting data, Google will send a warning to a secondary email address or a phone number if you have provided one. This, of course, won't help if you're dead. But you can also have that warning go to a loved one.

Google's inactive account manager: http://bit.ly/XuvgqD

FACEBOOK

The world's largest online social network doesn't give relatives access to dead people's accounts....

Comments are closed.

Preserving Your (Online) Life After Death

Sure, you have a lot to do today -- laundry, bills, dinner -- but it's never too early to start planning for your digital afterlife, the fate of your numerous online accounts once you shed this mortal coil.

Facebook, Google, Twitter and other sites have different policies on dealing with dead users. Some states are also considering laws that would automatically give loved ones access to, though not control of, their dead relative's digital accounts, unless otherwise specified.

Unless you take action, you might not like the outcome: Would you want to give your spouse automatic access to your email correspondences? Should parents automatically be able to browse through a deceased child's online dating profile?

Now that you're mulling your eventual demise, here's a look at how some of the biggest Internet companies deal with deceased users' accounts and what you can do to control your information.

GOOGLE

The company behind Gmail and Google Plus has a tool that lets you decide what happens with your account after you die or become inactive online for another reason, such as moving to a deserted island off the grid with no Internet access. The tool is called "inactive account manager."

You can choose to have your data deleted after three, six or 12 months of inactivity. Or you can choose someone, such as a parent or a spouse, to receive the data. The tool covers not just email but also other Google services such as Google Plus, YouTube and Blogger.

Before deleting data, Google will send a warning to a secondary email address or a phone number if you have provided one. This, of course, won't help if you're dead. But you can also have that warning go to a loved one.

Google's inactive account manager: http://bit.ly/XuvgqD

FACEBOOK

The world's largest online social network doesn't give relatives access to dead people's accounts....

Comments are closed.