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Google Updated Their Answer Regarding Accounts of Deceased Users!

I happened to click on this good, old, familiar Google link, only to find out it no longer looks like this: 

Nor like this: 

But like this: 

Google now offers us to choose one of the following: 
  • Close the account of a deceased user
  • Submit a request for funds from a deceased user's account
  • Obtain data from a deceased user's account
  • Notify Google that a user is deceased 
  • Resolve a potential hijacking of a deceased user's account
  • Make plans for what should happen to my own account 
Well done, Google! 
Now all that stands between you and me being happy with you, Google, is for you to actively notify your users about being able to manage their future inactive account, and for that service to also include the possibility of granting access or password, and not just a copy. 


A New Digital Death Video Went Online in Youtube

The good news: there is a new Digital Death video. 
The bad news: it's not entirely accurate, and do stop watching at 03:20 when it turns into a commercial :\ . 

At 02:24 he says "gmail will allow a user you designate to access your account", which isn't true, assuming he's referring to Google's Inactive Account Manager. You can't grant someone access to your account nor can you bequeath your password through this service. What you can do is allow a designated person or people to get a copy of the content of your account - in all of Google's products, not just gmail, through a link they get and can download from. But getting a copy and getting access are two different things. And the people you designate can't get access, only copy. 
If he's not referring to Google's Inactive Account Manager but to their general policy regarding accounts of deceased people, you can choose to request to "obtain data from a deceased user's account". There isn't however an option to "obtain access to a deceased user's account", so what he said remains incorrect. 

Another, although smaller mistake (at 01:26), is that Facebook does not turn a profile into a page when they memorialize it - they turn it into a memorialized profile. And, Legacy Contact feature is not yet available world wide: so far you can only use it in the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, to the best of my knowledge. 

Other than that - it's good that another video exists as it helps raise awareness to this important subject, I just wish it was also more precise in the information it was conveying. 


More Ways to Digitally Die

Digital Death has numerous, varied angles. Some of them don't even involve a person dying! 
Here are two examples: 

An article published in Gizmodo in July 2015: Capital Control Cuts Off Greek Access to iTunes, iCloud, and PayPal

"Imagine trying to buy a song on iTunes, but finding your credit card payment blocked. You can’t pay your cloud storage subscription, either, even though you have the money. Apple just won’t accept your card, and you’re about to lose most of your files".

"That’s the situation many people in Greece are waking up to this week in the wake of the country’s new capital control laws. ...the laws also prevent everyday consumers from making even the smallest credit payments to foreign companies, including Apple, PayPal, and other staples of online life".

So here is a case of death of digital content and assets - only a temporary one, we can hope? - which does not include a death of a person. When cloud storage gets shut down due to a payment being discontinued, I'm afraid data might be lost forever - including files of sentimental or financial value. And sometimes those lost files might be dear to us, or expensive.  

This reminds me of a story a manager of a company told me once in a meeting: 

"I changed my credit card and something didn't go right with the update. All the email accounts of the employees of the company were linked to that credit card, and one morning, suddenly, everybody was locked out of their emails. At first we were shocked, but then I suspected this might have something to do with the new credit card, so I manually updated the new credit card details, and the blocking was removed. Having met you, I now wonder: had I died and the credit card had expired at some point, would all the employees have been locked out of their accounts? Would someone know this was related to a credit card expiration, or how to fix it?" 
Probably not, which is why we should manage our digital content, assets, heritage and legacy. 

In July I also received the following whatsapp message on my phone: 

"A friend went into a difficult surgery. He came out of it in a bad shape and he can't recall any of his own passwords". 
I wanted to pull my hair out by the roots from frustration when I read this: if only there was a higher awareness of these issues, before going into surgery, amongst the many forms we were asked to fill, we would also have been advised to take care of our digital belongings before going into surgery, as we might suffer from a short or long term memory loss following it. Us ourselves might need this information to re-enter our own accounts. Sort of a letter from us in the present to us in the future: "Dear me, I hope you (I) won't be needing this information, but just in case, __________". 

So here is another example in which no one died (and I wish E. a full recovery!), and yet, he is locked out of his own accounts in addition to recovering from surgery. And if his recreational process won't succeed as hoped, him and his family will probably remain locked out of the various assets, legacy, content and heritage he has and could have been leaving behind.