digital death and the ‘right to be forgotten’

A short article in saturday’s Guardian (13 april) reported on a new service from Google – the Inactive Account Manager – that administers your online life after death. All sorts of options are possible and covers e mails, blogs and comments, contacts, Circles members, files, profiles, photos, phone voice data and YouTube viewing. Makes me feel tired just reading the list, technically I’m on a steep learning curve at the moment. Something else to add to my workshop session on writing a will. It gives a whole new meaning to logging off.

The move from Google follows increasing concern about problems encountered by families who have tried to access or shut down accounts on sites such as Facebook after the sudden death of a relative. Other services already exist to handle the aftermath of a ‘digital death’ such as Entrustet. It arrives amid controversy over the proposed ‘right to be forgotten’ that the European Union is trying to introduce over digital info. I’ve not come across that phrase before and find it an interesting ‘right’ to ponder on that runs counter to the usual emphasis on the importance of remembering and leaving a legacy. Any thoughts?