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Google launches tool to help users plan for digital afterlife

13/04/2013 14:59

Google has opened a new service to let people control what happens to their email, online photos and blogposts saved in its accounts, as concern grows over what happens to users' "digital life" when they die.
Called Inactive Account Manager – which Google's Andreas Tuerk accepts is "not a great name" – it will let users decide whether to trigger it if they haven't logged in for three, six, nine or 12 months, and then either delete their data or send all or selected elements to a nominated person of their choice.
The move comes after increasing concern about problems encountered by families who have been trying to access or shut down accounts on sites such as Facebook after the sudden death of relatives, and amid controversy over the proposed "right to be forgotten" that the European Union is trying to introduce over digital information.
Google's new service joins a number of offerings to handle the aftermath of a "digital death", typified by services such as Entrustet, which let people decide what messages and access to information they want surviving relatives or friends to see after their death. With use of social networks becoming prevalent and an important window into peoples' lives and friends, there have been recent examples of relatives of the dead being unable to gain access to the dead peoples' accounts: the family of one soldier was refused access to his email by Yahoo, and some families have had to seek court orders to gain access to the Facebook accounts of the deceased.

Source: https://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/apr/12/google-inactive-account-manager-digital-death

Guestbook: Google launches tool to help users plan for digital afterlife

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