Thursday, May 17, 2012

The webpage from beyond the grave

I've heard stories of high end cemeteries like Beverly Hills whereby you can embed a computer screen in your headstone that plays a video of you upon request. Sounds like science fiction but very doable (the hardest part would be power and weather proofing).

A much simpler solution of leaving a message that survives you is Facebook and other social networking sites where your personal page might remain long after your death. For some this is comforting, for others disturbing. Family members will sometimes ask Facebook for the password of a deceased loved-one so they can update the page with a death notice. Facebook does not have to comply with this request. Ditto for personal websites hosted by Google. There are few laws about passwords and death.

Our helpful government at USA.gov offers some suggestions: add a social media section to your will  (you do have a will, right?)
  • appoint someone you trust as an online executor
  • State how you would like your profiles to be handled. You may want to completely cancel your profile or keep it up for friends and family to visit. Some sites allow users to create a memorial profile where other users can still see your profile but can’t post anything new.
  • Give the social media executor a document that lists all the websites where you have a profile, along with your usernames and passwords.
  • Stipulate in your will that the online executor should have a copy of your death certificate. The online executor may need this as proof in order for websites to take any actions on your behalf.

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