Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Okay, you're dead...what about those personal goodies?

"Online 'Locker' Preserves Your Digital Life for Eternity"


Clark Boyd

August 9th, 2010

Discovery News

Let's face it. Thinking about death isn't that much fun. Personally, I have successfully put off making out a will for about 40 years now. I guess I never thought it so important to ensure that my precious collection of 1980s hair-metal cassettes (cassettes!) get passed along to my wife (not a metal fan) or my daughter (who will never know what a cassette actually is). Come to think of it, I'm not sure I want anyone that close to me to know that Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me" was ever in heavy rotation on my Walkman.

I did, however, come across an idea recently that got me thinking about how much of what I want to leave behind is, well, virtual. The idea is called Legacy Locker. The website describes it as "a digital safety deposit box" where you can store all of the passwords to your online accounts (be they email, bank accounts or your Twitter feed). Then, for each account, "you assign a beneficiary, someone to whom you want to entrust your digital content for the future."

Legacy Locker is the brainchild of Jeremy Toeman, who in a recent interview with AFP said he got the idea after he started worrying about what his children would miss out on if he suddenly passed. "One day my blog will have meaning to them," he told AFP. "In the same way that you find an old photo of your grandfather and wonder what the story was."

The cost for securing your digital legacy? Thirty dollars a year, or a one-time fee of $300. Not bad, considering that also gives you unlimited space to make digital back-ups of important paper documents (your will? ha!), pictures, etc. You can also trial a scaled-back free version too.

Toeman's point, and it's well taken, is that our legal system is in no way keeping pace with the rate of technological change. There aren't that many provisions out there to ensure that your online assets get passed along to your heirs in the same way as your physical ones.

And the grandfathers of the future, Toeman told AFP, are going to be leaving a different set of remembrances behind. "Today, you get a shoe box full of pictures; tomorrow you will get a Flickr account. Today, you get a diary; tomorrow you will get a blog."

Not to mention all of that gold you've hoarded playing World of Warcraft for years...and years...and years.

I can hear you scoffing at this. But just think for a minute of all the different accounts you have, and all the information you have tucked away in various corners of the web. If nothing else, this would serve as a great place to collect all of that information in one place. You, while living, can of course access this information 24/7 as part of your Legacy Locker account.

And imagine the joy you can give your eager Twitter followers. A caring loved one will, in your virtual stead, perhaps continue to spam their Twitter feeds with your stupid FarmVille updates.

Remember, it's not nice to speak ill of the dead.

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