Things to do in Digital Afterlife When You’re Dead


Session Title:

  • Theories of Social Media

Presentation Title:

  • Things to do in Digital Afterlife When You’re Dead




  • There are currently few procedures, guidelines, public awareness or general debate about what happens to our online digital identities after death. This paper outlines what happens with personal electronic information after death and will endeavor to propose possible new solutions to the problems associated with disparate, legacy personal data.

    As more people live increasing amounts of their lives online the issue of physical death in the digital realm is becoming pressingly visible.  Despite growing amounts of such legacy data there is little legal or cultural precedent as to how to treat the personal data of dead users.

    The paper discusses current ideas, technologies, and debates around this difficult area and outlines the current state of affairs and presents possible avenues for future development.

    There are currently several projects looking at aspects related to this area including, OpenID, oAuth, OpenSocial, VRM, vendor relationship management, PDS personal data spaces, the Mine! Project, Identity Commons et Al. the Paper looks into these in detail and identifies what common approaches may be gleaned from them and what traction their ideas may have in the real world.

    The rapidly approaching digital Afterlife offers a challenge of almost unimaginable scope to the creative vision of Artists, Philosophers, Technologists and Cultural thinkers. This paper outlines some of the challenges and opportunities that are on the horizon in a current, near and far future context.

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