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What should happen to your data after you die?

30th April 2013

 This is a topic that has been discussed around the office lately. Recently, we learned that Google have introduced a new tool that gives you the option to have your Google data removed after you pass away (full story), which means the deletion of your e-mails, Google’s social media site Google+ and more.

Death is a sensitive topic, and I expect there to be a wide range of thoughts on this. What do you think should happen to your online data after you die? There are many pros and cons for each argument, but which side do you take?

I am on the fence with this one. Having the option would certainly be beneficial, but whether or not I would use it is another thing. Having my content online after I die is not an issue for me, but more of an issue for friends and relatives. In my eyes, being able to see someone’s Facebook account for example after they pass could be quite nice. In a way, it would be possible to ‘interact’ with this person as you are still able to see their live content, photos, videos and updates. Having everything removed of a loved one may seem like you are losing even more after their passing.

I asked Cosmic’s Matt Young what he thought on this issue:

After I die, I quite like the idea of my social media data being put together in some kind of legacy. This way, two hundred years down the line, future generations of my family can see what kind of life I lived and my outlook on things. Whether or not they will care is a different matter but the option is there.

Slightly different yet interesting points from Matt – there are many different reasons for why someone may want to keep their data online after they pass.

But what about the negatives of keeping data online? Some loved ones may not like the idea of your data being left untouched after your death; the constant reminder that you are no longer around may be too much for some people, and seeing your name and things you have written before passing may be upsetting for some.

But what do you think? If given the option to remove all of your online data after you pass – so social media accounts, e-mails, and blog posts – would you use it? What reasons are there for your decision?