In 2013, Google launched it’s Inactivity Account Manager and at Planned Departure we crossed our fingers in the hope that other companies would start following suit. Which is why we are delighted to see that Facebook has followed the steps of Google and now offer this control to the user.
These steps which both Google and Facebook have taken are heading in the right direction, however, they are not sufficient. Our digital lives go way beyond the remit of Google and Facebook, who are obviously important but who in effect are only a minor part of our digital presence. Think about other online services we use – from communication to financial transactions, we now use numerous services which have become intrinsically tied to our day to day lives.
We should definitely have a lot more granular level control on what and how our accounts should be operated after we pass away. Like any other physical asset, as a creator of these digital assets, we should have the ability to specify who should get access to these accounts and what they should do with them.
People have the right to distribute whatever they own from their physical world, why can’t they do it from the digital world? This question and the problem we faced led us to the development of Planned Departure in the first place.
It is nice to see that mainstream organisations have now followed our lead and are solving this problem for their platforms. However, for an individual, we suggest they should think about their entire digital presence – not just Facebook and Google.
It is important to think about all the digital assets we possess, assign right beneficiaries for them and leave clear instructions for each and everything. It is important to have a planned departure in this digital age – otherwise, our data would stay locked or lost in this cyber-world forever!