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What happens to your digital self after you die?
Like most people, you probably haven’t given this question much thought. But consider how much of your life involves digital assets: social media profiles, email archives, digital music and video purchases, image galleries, web browsing histories, and much more. How to deal with these digital assets after we die has become a critical consideration as more and more of our lives take place online.
Global companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon all have their own protocols for managing the digital assets of their deceased users. But until now, there has been no significant participation in such processes from any user groups or policymakers (either within or outside the United States).
In this New Tools for Science Policy seminar, Faheem Hussain highlights the need to rethink postmortem design for digital products and platforms. He focuses specifically on emerging markets, where the growth rate for digital services is the fastest and the probability of having any policy-level guidelines or industry benchmarks is the lowest. He argues for the necessity of global awareness building, alongside the participatory design and development of equitable, localized guidelines for dealing with digital assets after death.