Internet Wills for Digital Afterlife Now Available on Google

12 April 2013 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

A new feature on Google called Interactive Account Manager now allows Google users to selected trusted contacts to receive data from many Google services. On April 11, 2013 posted a blog entitled “Plan your digital afterlife with Inactive Account Manager.” Amusingly enough Google admits the title for the new service “not a great name” but does allow Google users to:

  • choose to have your data deleted — after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity.
  • select trusted contacts to receive data from some or all of the following services: +1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube.

However before Google takes any action Google will “first warn you by sending a text message to your cellphone and email to the secondary address you’ve provided.”

Facebook allows accounts to be memorialized, but not to allow access to accounts by loved ones.

Google’s new Inactive Account Manager appears to be unique, but brought about because many families have been denied access to Internet and Social Media content after their loved ones die since no such digital afterlife had been planned before.

ABC News reported in February 2013 that a proposed bill in New Hampshire that “would allow control of someone’s Facebook, Twitter, and other accounts such as Gmail to be passed to the executor of their estate after death.”  Also ABC reported that:

Five other states, including Oklahoma, Idaho, Rhode Island, Indiana and Connecticut, have established legislation regulating one’s digital presence after death. Rhode Island and Connecticut were first, but their bills were limited in scope to email accounts, excluding social networking sites.

Surely we will see more new laws for Internet Wills and more such services for digital afterlife from other Internet and Social Media sites.

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