Digital Afterlife Project
Estimates show that 90 percent of Americans are online. We increasingly turn to online services to handle critical parts of our lives, but few platforms provide a way for user information to be safely managed or deleted after a user passes away. In many instances, estate executors or family members are required to provide death certificates, court orders, or even sue companies for the ability to access their loved one’s online accounts. To facilitate access to these assets, state governments can extend existing probate laws that authorize fiduciary access to digital assets by classifying estate executors as authorized agents under data privacy laws. Companies can also better design their products in order to allow users to grant custodial access and instructions on a per-platform basis before they pass away.
Click below to view various resources for navigating the digital afterlife, including design principles for companies looking to make a policy change and educational materials to explain the issue.