Introduction to Digital Death - What Happens to Internet Identity After Death?

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Issue/Topic: Introduction to Digital Death – What Happens to Internet Identity After Death?

Convener: Stacey Pitsillides

Session: 4B

Conference: IIW-Europe October 11, London Complete Notes Page

Notes-taker(s): Stacey Pitsillides

Tags: digital death, protocols, introduction, legacy, centralization

Discussion notes:

The topic of Digital Death was introduced. Most people who attended the session were unfamiliar with the concept so it was broken down first by simply discussing what happens to your data after you die? What are the services currently provided (e.g. digital safety deposit boxes) , how do they work and what different system currently in use eg Facebook, Google, Twitter do with data 'left' after death. This led us to the consideration of virtual wills, the decontextualiation and decentralisation of data and how and why one should leave parts or all of their data for the next generation ( i.e. their children).

The general response was one of interest and surprise, it is perhaps always a shock if it is something you had not considered prior. There was a great interest in the practical elements of why this is an issue and what may be done about it in the future, including a short discussion of how a Personal Data Store (if it was to be implemented) could be bequeathed, divided and even duplicated in sections to allow for a more manageable, centralised digital presence which could then be dealt with as the loved one sees fit.

The Digital Death community is growing, as the subject is further disseminated and as awareness grows there will be further encouragement for action. The systems which are currently in place do not work, therefore there must be a continuation of experts gathering within productive working events such as unconferences to discuss various strategies for the practical and legal future of this topic and indeed our data.