Online Legacies

I just finished reading a very interesting article on the BBC Website in which a mother bequeathed her iPad to her family but, due to Apple’s security rules, they are unable to unlock it. This got me thinking about what would happen to my devices if I were to die suddenly. Same thing as the Grant family in the news article, I would suspect. My iPad and iPhone would basically be an expensive placemat. But then I thought about the larger issue.

What would happen to all of my information online if I were to die? Pretty much everything I do is backed up in 3 different places (some on cloud services, some on hard drives). It’s all password protected—even my hard drives—so no one would really be able to get access to this blog, my Twitter accounts, Dropbox, Google and so on. I rotate between 8 different passwords, all of which have 29 characters. Unless one of my colleagues successfully completes a post-graduate degree in computer password hacking, it’s highly unlikely anyone is going to crack them. (And yes, I do use a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and characters.)

So what would happen to this blog? My accounts? My websites? Presumably some of them would wither and die once I stopped paying for them (such as my personal website). But what about this blog? Would WordPress keep it going indefinitely? Is there a cut-off point where after, say, 5 years of no activity, it is automatically deleted?

So is my legacy to have password protected hard drives and increasingly out-of-date (and non-updated) blogs and websites scattered around the globe forever?

Should I keep a note of my passwords so that, in the event of my death, others can access my materials and delete things? Perhaps I should but then, of course, the problem becomes this – where do I keep a note of my passwords? Because wherever I keep it, it needs to be ultra-secure (it does contain all my passwords, after all). I can’t store it online (because I would need to secure it with a password which, considering the scenario, would be really stupid). I can’t leave a note under my bed (not secure).

So perhaps the best option is to write out the passwords and keep them in a secure vault somewhere in a bank.

Or better yet, not die.

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