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15/07/2015

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. 


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