For a while, I’ve been banging on about the question of what happens to your digital assets once you’re gone. Today, via LIVEdigitally, I encountered Legacy Locker, which promises to solve that problem:
Legacy Locker is a safe, secure repository for your digital property that lets you grant access to online assets for friends and loved ones in the event of death or disability.
Of course, for the process to work, Legacy Locker itself has to outlive its users.
I guess this is useful, but that’s not the main thing I’m worried about if I die from this pesky cancer I’ve got in the near future.
As I mentioned when talking about “digital executors” on CBC’s Spark last year, and as Dave Winer talked about some time before that in reference to “personal endowments,” it would be better to have a service from a large, reliable organization (Amazon, Google, or maybe a university or insurance company — but maybe not AIG!) where you pay a (perhaps large) up-front fee and they’ll host your stuff in perpetuity. I’d at least want to put my blog someplace like that.
The thing about Legacy Locker is that, since it requires verification by at least a couple of people, and a fair amount of administrative overhead, it seems simpler to me to find a tech-savvy good friend to act as executor, and then make sure he or she has the master password for my Mac OS Keychain, which contains usernames and passwords for the main places I go, including my blog, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, my hosting company, my domain registrar, and so on. I think that person would sort it out better than Legacy Locker, which seems set up simply to notify people who then have to do a bunch of work afterwards.
But maybe I misunderstand it. It does seem like a neat way to set up a sort of online last will and testament for your digital belongings.
Indeed, I wrote this post rather hastily, as I was going to postulate the same sort of thing. I’d feel more comfortable about my estate if they got acquired by Amazon or Google, assuming those companies are going to be around for a while. Until, you know, my digital assets are no longer viewable by future 4-D web technology.
I just met your friend Travis and he suggested I check out this blog entry. This is a great topic! We are actually talking about what happens to your digital existence in a panel on Tuesday at SXSW. Check it out!
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