Your right to be forgotten – Are you in control?

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Recently Mr Jaaskinen gave his recommendation that national data protection agency can not ask Google to remove personal information from its search engine index.

Let me give you a little background of this case. This case is between Spanish Data Protection Agency and Google. In 2009, a spanish man reported that Google is surfacing links about him which are no longer relevant. He requested that these links should be removed. In his opinion, those links were damaging his reputation. Google declined his request and so he reported this case to Spanish Data Protection Agency. Spanish Data Protection Agency filed a case against Google. Now it seems court might consider Mr. Jaaskinen’s recommendations that Google can not be held responsible for surfacing sensitive or damaging data about the user.

That is the nature of Internet.

We publish information about ourselves at many places, create accounts in tens of websites and leave our digital footprints on the web everywhere. Do we want everyone in the world to know about everything we do on the Internet? Probably not.

If we are around and notice that information we would prefer to be hidden is surfacing – may be we can challenge and if possible remove that content. Often, we can be in control if we are around – but what if we are not around to challenge it? Could this information damage reputation, hurt sentiments or incur financial loss for your family members, friends or colleagues? Probably yes.  

When we launched Planned Departure, one of the thing we had in mind was the control. User should be able to control their digital estate during their life and should be able to make arrangements for their digital estate after their life

Planned Departure lets user leave instructions to their beneficiaries so that they can fulfil the wishes of the one who has departed – It’s our way of ensuring that user has control and user can decide (or at least request to someone he or she trust) what happens to their digital estate after they are gone.

Where would you leave your control – to someone you trust or to a big organization’s policy, which will be changed and enforced on your profile – even if you are not around to comment / decline or protest about it. Let’s discuss. 

Story behind Planned Departure – Why did we start Planned Departure?

Planned Departure

Recently we were interviewed by CEO Blog Nation to talk about story behind our brand Planned Departure. After sharing our story with them, I realised that I should share this story with you all as well – to help you understand how we came up with this idea and what motivated us to pursue it.

My partner Komal and I moved from our home country India to UK around 6 years back. Few months after coming to UK, my uncle passed away in India and that triggered first chain of thoughts. We started thinking, how it is to die in this digital age? How technology is changing our life and how people can be remembered in this digital age? We discussed this issue for few days – I was convinced that there is a need for product in this space. However, we did not progress beyond discussions and carried on with our life after few days.

Unfortunately, after 2 years or so, my father-in-law expired suddenly and that brought us back to the same questions. This time, we were more involved in the process and experienced the pain of managing accounts and affairs of deceased accounts first hand. We thought, technology should be able to make this process a bit smoother and less painful for people who are probably experiencing their worst time.

After coming back to UK, I spoke to many traditional organisations (such as banks, utility providers etc) I was dealing with and asked them one simple question – What will happen to my assets if I die tomorrow? All of them were unanimous in their response – we will follow the process and release your assets if someone get in touch and provide appropriate legal proofs. I started wondering how many people know about my assets, how will they get relevant information, how will they claim it if something happens to me.

More I thought about it, more challenging it became. I continued my research on emails, domains, facebook, twitter and many other online services – none of them had ability to keep users in control of information user is creating.

Many people thought sharing this information with partner or someone close is enough. I wasn’t convinced – sure my partner knows everything, but hey what if both of us are gone? When I researched more, I found that there were billions of pounds of unclaimed assets in every country – and I asked myself – do I want my assets to be ended up in this pile of unclaimed assets? Answer was clear.

Planned Departure was our response to this problem. We created it to ensure that information reaches to the right people – to our family, to our friends and to our colleagues.

I wouldn’t want my hard earned assets to be ended up in unclaimed assets – would you?

What motivates us is the feeling that system we are creating would be able to help people by giving them useful information when they need it most. We feel satisfied – because we are giving users control of their digital life, even after they are gone.

We feel it’s a worthwhile goal to pursue. What do you think.

Please feel free to share our story in your network.

Image source: http://caseprint.co.uk/2011/07/06/our-story-islington/

Buying life insurance policy is enough? Think again.

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Image source: http://www.legalcybertips.com/images/Beneficiaries-And-Unclaimed-Life-Insurance-Policies.jpg

Many of us buy life insurance policies because we believe that it will make lives of our near &  dear ones a bit comfortable in our absence. It will take care of mortgage and give them much needed financial security – if we are not around.  But how often this money reaches to the right people?  How much money is locked in the insurance firms or drown under the pile of information?

Like you, I used to think that money always reaches to the right hands. However, when I looked around, that was not the case.

As per the unclaimed assets website, there are £2 billion worth of unclaimed policies in the UK alone. As per this article in Yahoo Finance, 1 out of every 600 people is the beneficiary of an unclaimed insurance policy.

One of the main reason for these unclaimed assets is – Information loss. Often, policy holder forgets to update beneficiaries about the various insurances they might have. Not only that, family members forget about the insurance policies due to its long term nature. For many people, this information (Policy papers, numbers etc) can also be lost as a result of natural calamities, fire, theft or other such accidents.

In the case of Mary Lou Sowa, she did not have information about all the policies held by her father. The insurance firms also did not give information about additional policies. She was lucky to receive a check a decade later but not all are as fortunate as Mary.

All these incidents highlights the importance of transferring the information to the right people at right time. I would not want my hard earned money to lie unclaimed with insurance companies.

Having an insurance policy is the essential thing to do, but it’s not enough. It is important to plan and ensure that benefit of the policies reaches to the right people at right time. We created Planned Departure to ensure that you can safe guard and distribute important information to the  right people at the right time – so that they can be benefited by your good planning,