Death is inevitable but the law decides what happens to our goods when we go. The new question is: what happens to our virtual identity and our online assets? The law says nothing about our ‘digital legacy’.
- What happens to our photos on Facebook?
- Can a literary executor get control over a writer’s Tweets?
- Is our stash of Warcraft gold subject to inheritance tax?
- Can a relative inherit your digital music collection?
- Should service providers automatically shut down social media identities when their owner dies?
- What do online services do when you die? Popular services like Facebook, MySpace, Hotmail, Flickr and Gmail have very different policies (or no public policies at all).
I spent a few hours last month putting together a list of passwords together with my will so that if I died, anyone who was trying to sort out my affairs afterwards could deal with all this (and also access my server and PC).
After all this maudlin talk, can I recommend Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman? It’s witty, entertaining and very thought-provoking. You can listen to Jeffrey Tambor read one of the tales on the wonderful RadioLab programme from New York.