Have you ever wondered how you’d let your family and/or loved ones get access to your online presences in the event of your untimely demise? [image by William Hook]
No, me neither… but the people behind the LegacyLocker service obviously have. Adam Pash of Lifehacker explains their offer:
Web site Legacy passes on your “digital property” to your friends or loved ones should you die. At first blush, the idea sounds admittedly kind of absurd. But think about the hassle for your loved ones involved in finding contacts that should be notified of your death (email or Facebook), or the money sitting in your PayPal account with nobody around to claim it. None of this poses an insurmountable obstacle for your loved ones, but it’d all be a lot easier if the appropriate usernames and passwords were automatically handed over at your demise.
The service comes with several tiered accounts, from the free account—which will store and hand over 3 “assets” (logins) to one “beneficiary” and send out one “legacy letter” (a farewell message to your loved one) to the $30 annual account, which gives you unlimited everything.
Right now, LegacyLocker just looks like a kook project for folk who like their web2.0 a bit too much… but I think it’ll look a lot less odd in just a few years. A few decades down the line, it’ll probably be a huge business.
Think of all the digital media you will own, for a start: all the stills and movies and audio you’ve bought and made over the years, stashed on your own rented slice of cloud server somewhere where energy is comparitively cheap (and ambient temperatures low), waiting to be passed on to your kids and fed through legacy codec converters, like the future equivalent of the copyshops who work on restoring Victorian-era photographs for your grandparents; an archive of all the buildings you ever made in your favourite metaverse; a few virtualbox instances of your old autonomous software agents, their tiny but quirky personalities too surrounded by sentiment and nostalgia to simply erase…
And what about different forms of legal death? If legal existence becomes increasingly tied to citizenship of a nation-state (or corporation, if there’s any remaining difference by this point), what happens when you’re legally dead (or at least non-living) by that entity’s reckoning – be it sacked, excommunicated, expelled or AWOL? Your name drops off a database somewhere, and your LegacyLocker equivalent (quite possibly supplied by – or even made compulsory by – the afore-mentioned legal entity) blindly releases the passcodes and biometric keys for all your financial and governmental records to some predefined recipient, the contact details for which have (you hope) not been hacked, phished or foxed by digital pickpockets who like the easy pickings of a morgue foyer…
… so now I have about three new story ideas sat in my head, and no time to write them. Business as usual, eh?