Posted by: redsaid on Feb 08, 2011
Tagged in: where there is a digital will there is a way , What should happen to your facebook account when y , US Marines , Nathan Lustig , Justin Ellsworth , Jesse Davis , Hypochondria , House , Google Your Symptoms , Google Your Symptoms , Entrusted , Dr Gregory House , Digital Assets , create a free digital will
People, I have grave news: We’re all going to die.
And yes, of course I’m qualified to make such a grim diagnosis. Why, do you ask? Well, if you absolutely HAVE to know my merits as a lay doctor: I’m a huge fan of the medical television series House. Being captivated by the wit and diagnostic genius of title character Dr. Gregory House episode after episode has helped me obtain valuable medical knowledge through sheer osmosis. Honestly.
Also, I have been known to Google symptoms – mine and other people’s – from time to time. The result is that I think I know what’s wrong with everyone and that I too suffer from every known condition under the sun – except, of course, hypochondria.
My skills as a lay doctor aside, the truth is that we ARE all going to shuffle off this mortal coil eventually. In the immortal words of Jim Morrison: “no one here gets out alive.”
A few weeks ago, fellow myDLer DBS set off these macabre musings of mine by wondering what happens and ought to happen to our Facebook and other online accounts when we die.
In this electronic age of e-mail, blogs, Foursquare, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and the myriad of other social networking and personal domains that are clogging up cyberspace, many people leave behind an extensive online digital footprint when they die.
Not all of it is immortal; you might be relieved to know. Some domains expire if you do not keep renewing it year after year. However, if you don’t cringe at that blog post you wrote last week or last year, you might not mind if it can be seen by Internet users a hundred years from now. You might even insist on it. So if you do want your sparkling prose, music, captions, artworks, pictures or whatnot to live on for infinity and beyond, you will need to entrust someone or some place with your user names and passwords.
In recent years, many cyber services have sprung up that enable Internet users to do just that. One such place, called Entrusted is a free service that allows you to store the passwords and other information of all your digital assets such as your myDL blog, Facebook profile, your Gmail, PayPal, Picasa, etc. Your assigned heir/s will then be able to access it when you pass away and either keep the accounts active or delete it – whatever your wishes.
According to Entrusted’s co-founder, Jesse Davis, he and Nathan Lustig came up with the idea to create Entrusted after reading about the Justin Ellsworth case. Ellsworth, who was a U.S. Marine, was killed in action while serving in Iraq. For sentimental reasons, his bereft parents wanted access to their son’s Yahoo! e-mail account. The company refused to grant them access. The parents took the matter to court and won the case, thereby forcing Yahoo! to open Ellsworth account to his parents. Says Davis: “All of a sudden it hit me that digital assets were ‘real’ and an essential part of an estate. It also made me wonder if Justin even would have wanted his parents to see all of his e-mails.”
Entrusted offers various packages, including a free one that allows users to transfer or delete unlimited accounts, to nominate a digital executor to make transfers or deletions and to appoint an unlimited amount of heirs. The free package also includes gratis backup of up to 2GB of data.
For more information, visit the Entrusted Web site. Now if you will excuse me, I think I’m coming down with something. Just in case it is fatal, I quickly want to hop on over to Entrusted and decide which of you ought to become the sole heir to my DigiRand fortune.