What happens to our data after we die?

Table of Contents

Introduction

The fate of our data after we die

What are the ways by which we can avoid issues related to post-death data?

Closing

Introduction

  • The internet has all our data and information. But, where does all the data go once we leave this earth for a heavenly abode? Who gets access to the photos and messages? Is there any way of removing the data from the virtual world? The issue is sensitive, and more so, because there are no clearly spelled-out guidelines for the same but we will be providing the ways by which we can avoid issues related to after-death data, in this blog post!
  • The topic we have chosen is extremely important as we have digital footprints that we need to be careful about. One wrong step and our valuable data will fall into hands that may misuse the same.
  • Therefore, in this post, we will be talking about the fate of our data after our death and the ways by which we can avoid issues related to post-death data.

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The fate of our data after we die

  • There’s an option that most social media platforms provide after a person dies and that is to close down the account of the person who has died. But does the data the account holds disappear too? This question is still unsolved. Social media platforms take permission for data collection through terms and conditions policy. When we are still living, we can cancel the policy agreement if we want or even challenge it. However, such a privilege is not available when we die. The social media platforms will still have access to your data and may even hand them over to third parties.
  • Let us understand the issue with the help of an example. For example, Google has no option of finding out if the data belongs to a person who is not alive. They have access to such data for an indefinite period. Even if Google is asked to delete the data by someone, the backup servers might still hold the data. Not only Google, but this is also the case with other social media platforms.
  • The data we buy may also give rise to some issues. Why? That’s because there are not enough rules and regulations as far as post-death data are concerned. The transfer of ownership of things we don’t own is not easy at all. Our relatives may legally download data created by us, but they don’t technically own the same. They just have the license to use such data, which no longer exists when we die. This is the reason why our relatives cannot claim to be the owner of such data.

What are the ways by which we can avoid issues related to post-death data?

  • It is important to make provisions for handling our post-death data in advance or else social media platforms will lock our data in their digital repositories and our relatives will find it extremely difficult to have access to the same. Following are the steps that will help us avoid issues related to post-death data in advance:

 1) By making use of the Inactive Account Manager of Google How does this help? If our account has been inactive for a certain period, it will notify our relatives.

 2) By including digital property as part of our will – By appointing a digital executor, our will is surely going to be fulfilled.

 3) By sharing passwords with trustworthy people – By doing so, we will ensure the trustworthy person puts a lock on our accounts or retrieves our valuable data. They need not be mentioned in our will as they may be visible to the public eye.

 4) By thinking before sharing data – We have to be careful about what we share on social media platforms to avoid dire consequences.

 5) By appointing a “legacy contact” on FacebookThis will determine who will be in charge of our accounts after we die.

6) By encrypting confidential information with a file encryption manager This will ensure the public doesn’t see things that we don’t want them to see. Some apps allow us to encrypt our files. Also, it is better to avoid sharing confidential information on social media platforms, Google’s cloud services, or third-party-managed online platforms. Why? That’s because most of them can have access to our data.

Closing

  • There may be uncertainty regarding the fate of our post-death data but we can take steps while we are alive to prevent misuse of the same. The above steps will help us with the same.

 

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