Friday, November 26, 2010

The Digital Afterlife: Data is Immortal

Have you ever wondered that what would happen to the person’s profile if he/she dies? The information about any person, his/her Facebook profile or the Blogger account can be preserved for centuries to come. If the data isn’t physically removed, it will stay there forever.

Quite literally it means even if a person dies, he/she lives just like a ghost on the World Wide Web.

There was an interesting article in New York Times regarding a detailed overview of: Web Means the End of Forgetting. It throws light on the much discussed topic about why we can never forget things once they are put on the net.

With Facebook reaching the 500 million mark and with those over the age of 65 adopting Facebook faster than any other age group, the issue of what to do with the Facebook pages of those who have died is becoming a more important one. Imagine how you would feel if you get a notification from your late grandfather on Facebook inviting you to reconnect with him! And it happens with hundreds of people, who did not think of controlling the way their digital accounts would stay after they could handle them no more. Some social networking sites also claim to have tested software to search for members who have died, but the problem is that the software can be spoofed.

This situation leads us to think a proper management system for our digital assets. If we think of some means to tackle this problem, the only idea I get is to have a safe depository of all my user-names and passwords to the computer system as well as access to all the important accounts residing inside it and a legal procedure to give the rights to access that data to someone after us.

That sure sounds ridiculous, but I haven’t found another sound answer.

There has been some news as regards to some lawyers advocating the assignment of a “digital executor” for the purpose of carrying out our digital afterlife wishes. Who knows we might need something like that soon enough.

So, what do you think? There must be thousands of pages scattered across the net that are no longer accessed.

Is there any way to control this situation? Or will it grow to a saturation point? Have your say.

Article Prepared with help of Mrs Poonam/PGT/St. Angel's School for magazine. 


akshay negi said...

nice article

Manas said...

don't know how much space such data would be covering....interesting to know indeed.