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Afterlife Data Privacy

Have you ever asked yourself what's going to happen with your digital data in case the worst happens, or most importantly, the pros and cons of privacy in such a situation?

Taking passwords to the grave is always be default, and while your email service provider may get socially engineered -- or have to comply with a court order -- under the excuse of emotional crisis, family relations, reconsider how you would like to have your (accounting) data handled :

"The situation poses a dilemma for e-mail providers that are pilloried by privacy rights advocates at the mere suggestion of sensitive data being exposed, at the same time they are expected to hand over the digital keys to family members when a customer dies. Last year, Yahoo was forced to provide access to the e-mail of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq to his father, who got a court order in the matter. "The commitment we've made to every person who signs up for a Yahoo Mail account is to treat their e-mail as a private communication and to treat the content of their messages as confidential," said Yahoo spokeswoman Karen Mahon. Beyond acknowledging that Yahoo complies with court orders, Mahon declined to discuss Yahoo's requirements for providing family members access to the e-mail accounts of their deceased loved ones. Google will provide access to a deceased Gmail user's account if the person seeking it provides a copy of the death certificate and a copy of a document giving the person power of attorney over the e-mail account, said a Google spokeswoman."

Whereas some inboxes should never be opened -- your spouse's one for instance -- leading email providers have already established practices when dealing with such requests and I feel the lack of reliable stats on the occurrences of such isn't proving the necessary discussion. The majority of people I know don't just have a black and white sides of their characters, they're too colorful to hide it both offline and online, and that's what makes them "people I know". Changing a provider's privacy policy wouldn't necessarily have a significant effect unless an author's email communication truly becomes his property, while on the other hand local laws could ruin the effect. It would be highly flexible if users are offered the opportunity to speak for themselves and their privacy while still able to do it.

Sometimes, on your journey to happiness and emotional balance you end up opening more and more of pandora's boxes, when what you're looking for is right inside your head - the clear memory of the person in question, not the pseudo-individuality in all of its twisted variations. Make sure what you wish for, as it may actually happen!

The ultimate question - Why does a deceased soldier’s email thoughts become the property of a company?
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