Saturday, November 26, 2011

Who will inherit the passwords?

I do hope High50 is doing OK. I really like the design of their site and their style of content. In this week's e-mail newsletter there was an article about digital inheritance, a subject I have never considered.  

The article is based on a report by rackspace (cloud hosting company) that draws attention to the value of all of those bytes of data that we have stashed away on our computers.  

The key finding is that Brits have £2.3bn worth of digital possessions in the cloud. 

Who knows if this figure is remotely correct but it does raise an interesting point and highlights a business opportunity. A quote from one of the report's authors.

 “People pass on things they would have valued traditionally but that have now taken digital form: photographs, home videos, books and music. Some people pass on a list of log-ins to their accounts, though not everyone wants their heirs having access to private communications and thoughts, and some opt instead for a specific filtered set of things they value and believe their heirs will value.

 “Lawyers are driving a lot of the early adoption of digital inheritance practices by raising the issue with clients when drawing up or updating wills. Often people simply wouldn’t have thought about it but suddenly realise that, yes, there are digital objects or accounts they value and want to pass on.”

As a Wired columnist said:  “The internet has the same issues any other repository – the balance of accessibility and security. That is, if you give your wife the keys to the safety deposit box for when you die, you run the risk that she will use the safety deposit box key during your lifetime and find out about your second wife in Derby. And vice versa.” Guess he has a point.

Rackspace certainly thinks that there is a chance to make a few bob out of high security cloud computing to lock away your digital secrets. I am sure other companies will follow. Dick Stroud

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