What happens to all your cloud-based data when death strikes? I don’t know about you, but I have a stack of stuff littering the cloud as I have tried out various cloud-based services for this blog and although most of the stuff I store cloudside is innocuous, I would prefer it went up in digital smoke in much the same way as my body will do at the crematorium.
I guess one way of making sure all my digital accounts are nuked after my death is to put their details in a will or plain brown envelope in the top drawer as ask someone to carry out the digital deletion on my passing. This is not as easy as it sounds.
I change passwords pretty regularly so any will or testament would be out of date in a matter of weeks or months. As I seem to collect cloud services on a weekly basis and upload some data to test it, again any will would be out of date.
I also realise that the very nature of my demise plays an important part of how my digital afterlife is handled. Now if I am given some advance warning of my expiry date then I can pass some time cleaning up the digital detritus. If, on the other hand, I am wiped out without any warning then Plan A (plain brown envelope containing all passwords, user names,URLs, etc) has to kick in with all the built in obsolescence outlined above.
A quick Google search reveals that there are services out there that handle the passing on or deletion of your online life. The neatly named Planned Departure will do all you would expect the service to carry out on your behalf and even allow you to write your own obituary.
In the UK there is My Digital Executor which sounds a bit to much like My Digital Execution for my liking but has been set up by someone calling himself a lawyer although I am going to be pedantic and say in the UK we have solicitors and barristers not lawyers which are American. A third site I discovered painlessly was Cirrus which covers pretty much the same ground.
Death and killing a curry
While sites such as these appear to offer a solution in the end you are trusting your data to someone digital entity you have never looked squarely in the eyes and you can never be sure if they are totally kosher and won’t syphon off the contents of your PayPal account!
I often joke as you get older you go to more funerals than weddings but if I ever see a tall dark stranger coming down the lanes riding a white horse I shall whip up a decent tandoori chicken and dhal and hopes he enjoys a meal and moves on.
So what is your solution to data after death?