From Here to E-ternity

I can’t take credit for the title of this blog post because it comes from the title of a recent, thought-provoking article in TIME Magazine (US Edition, Feb. 11).

In “From Here to E-ternity: What Happens to Your Virtual Things When You’re Gone?“, Katy Steinmetz discusses digital assets – things like e-books, photos and e-mails – that live only on a computer or in the cloud and what happens to them when you die.

Although we purchase or create those assets, they often aren’t really ours.  As Ms. Steinmetz writes, “Providers like Yahoo and Aamzon often state that accounts are nontransferable or that what you ‘buy’ is not technically sold to you, just licensed for your personal use.”  So you may not be able to dispose of those assets as you see fit when you die due to conflicts with the terms of your service agreements.

The enormity of this concern is illustrated in an accompanying table in which Ms. Steinmetz discusses the reasons for concern, the existing rules, what you can do, and whether the rules will change for each of the following digital assets: e-books (e.g. Amazon’s Kindle), music (e.g. iTunes), gaming (e.g. World of Warcraft), photos (e.g. Flickr), movies and TV (e.g. Amazon Instant Video), e-mail (e.g. Gmail), social media (e.g. Facebook) and domain names.  For example, she provides the following information about social media:

  1. Why you should care – “Facebook has more than 1 billion users, Twitter more than 200 million.  Social media can be part of our legacies and popular accounts may have financial value.”
  2. What the rules are – “Twitter will transfer accounts if you jump thorugh legal hoops.  Facebook leaves pages up as memorials but will not grant account access.”
  3. What you can do – “Leave instructions in your will.  Lawyers advise keeping passwords in a separate document.”
  4. Will it change? – “Probably.  Policymakers are trying to give survivors greater access to the accounts of deceased loved ones.”

It will be interesting to see how lawmakers deal with this challenge, a challenge that must be addressed as we increasingly live our lives in the digital world and amass sizeable (and often costly) collections of digital assets.

Note: You can access the full article through a hard copy subscription to TIME or via a paid, online subscription.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

 Telephone

 

(905) 702-8756
1-877-857-7111

 

Email

 

info@eimc.ca

Request A Call

Case in Point

That's A Lot of Records!
Often the requirement for a needs assessment is driven by a specific initiative being considered or an immediate problem to be solved, rather than a general desire to establish a corporate (or organization-wide) IM program. We had a client wanting to improve its management of a specific group of critical records – thousands of member files in paper, microform and digital formats containing hundreds of unique document types.
Assess, Plan and Schedule
Ergo reviewed the organization’s current practices for managing those records, compared those practices to best practices, and identified risks and areas for improvement. From there we developed a strategic plan with a focus on records storage and retention. The plan identified the operational, financial and technological requirements for implementing the recommended changes, improvements and enhancements in the lifecycle management of the member records. Activities in the plan were classified as short term (next 6-12 months), medium term (next 12-24 months) and longer term (next 25+ months).
Step by Step Success
Implementation of the strategic plan enabled this organization to ensure its member records are properly identified, organized, accessible, protected and retained as long as necessary to meet operational and other requirements.
Previous
Next