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31/12/2015

So What's New in Digital Death?

The end of 2015 is a great excuse to look back and see what's new in Death. Digital Death. 
Here is my summary of 2014


2015


December 
  • The internet (mainly Reddit and Facebook) successfully recognizes "Grateful Doe", an anonymous body between 1995 and December, as Jason Callahan


November
  • Eterni.me made a lot of noise when it first launched in January 2014 and has been silent since. In November she is heard from again: here is the post I wrote about it. 
  • After a long struggle by Holli Gazzrd's family, which involved the media, after she was murdered in 2014, in November Facebook finally removes from her memorialised profile pictures of her together with her killer, from back when they were a couple. Here is the post I wrote about it.  
  • A new international design competition launches in November: Future Cemetery Design Competition
  • A new non-profit association presents itself in the UK in November: Digital Legacy Association. It offers a Digital Death framework aimed at both people who take care of sick or elderly family members and professionals offering palliative care. A wonderful cooperation with UK hospices. 


October
  • Another attempt at virtual immortality presents itself in October: Humai. Warning: when you enter the site music begins to play. Annoying. 
  • Eight years old Lake Bozman dies of Leukemia in May. In October, his parents, Anna Bozman and Travis Thompson, decide to get married. The photographer adds Lake into the wedding picture
  • One of the most well known sites for digital legacy management, Death Switch, shuts down in October. 
  • Yahoo presents a new mail app in October which skips the password stage, and I wonder if this is going to make posthumous access easier or more difficult. 
  • Facebook continues to cause people pain, although unintentionally, through On this day memories who leap up at you. She tries to resolve this in October, by giving users more control over the presented memories. Unsurprisingly it's not a good enough solution: you can't opt out of the thing all together.   
  • In October, LastPass and LogMeIn merge. I hope this will bear fruit in the form of a legacy heir, like the one PasswordBox has (previously known as Legacy Locker). 



Lake is part of the family pic

September
  • In September Facebook announces it's working on an empathy button: NOT a dislike button: an empathy button. Hopefully this will make comments and reactions to online grief easier. 
  • In September France offers it citizens an opportunity to vote online regarding a new legislation which includes a Digital Death bit: English website, French website, my post about this. Here is the relevant Digital Death part of it. 
  • Unfortunately, in September the ULC bowes down to the pressure applied to it by paid lobbyists of the big companies, and changes the bill it presented last year: here is the (very agitated and frustrated) post I wrote about it
  • Taurean Summers, a paramedic, was transporting a patient to a hospital when the plane he was on crashed in 2014. His wife, Stephanie Summers, was five months pregnant with their firstborn. In September the photographer adds Taurean to the pictures of Stephanie and their son
Taurean is part of the family pic 

August 
  • The second Death Online Research Symposium takes place in London, UK in August. Here is my summary of the first day and second day
  • Buzzfeed publishes in August a Digital Death video they created. 
  • Another attempt at virtual immortality presents itself in August: ETER9.
  • The trial of the murderer David Michael Kalac was set to August. In 2014 he uploaded to 4chan pictures and graphic details of the body and the killing, after murdering 30 years old Amber Lynn Coplin. 
  • In the 23rd Def Con which takes place in Las Vegas in August, the Australian Chris Rock explains how to virtually and digitally kill people: link, link.   



July 
  • In July Google update their answer regarding Digital Death: here is my post about it (I admit: it might have been earlier and I only noticed it in July). 
June
  • A mini symposium titled "Ghosts in the Machine" takes place in Denmark in June. 
  • Dashlane, the password manager app, publishes a press release in June regarding emergency password access. 
  • In June it turns out you can place virtual flowers on virtual graves of TV shows that were discontinued and/or of TV characters that were killed in the line of duty, courtesy of TV Graveyard. Updates were posted in August and October, to include more characters / TV shows. 
 May
April 



Lane is part of the family pic 


March 
  • Facebook causes people pain, although unintentionally, through On this day memories which leap up at you. In March Sean Forbes shares his painful experience. 
  • Sir Terry Pratchett dies on March 12th 2015. The same month a petition goes online, asking Death to reinstate him. I wonder in which form or format it shall be presented if it reaches it's 35,000 signatures goal
February 

Did I forget to include something? Please do let me know! Send me an email - address is at the header - or send me a message through the Facebook page of the blog. 


Things to look forward to in 2016: 


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