Episode #33

Planning For Your Digital Life After Death

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

When we die, we leave behind more than friends and family, homes and possessions. These days, we leave behind Facebook profiles and Twitter accounts and thousands of emails.

For Dr. Stephen Kelly, tapping into that digital footprint is a way to stay connected to his son John, who passed away two years ago. Once or twice a year, Kelly checks John’s Facebook account to read the messages and memories his friends have been posting.

“It’s a little bit, you know, unusual. I do leave a message. I post a message from us. Just thanking people for remembering him,” Kelly told reporter Stan Alcorn.

Kelly is able to stay in touch like this because he could guess John’s password. It was lucky, but it may also be illegal. Laws reaching back decades ban unauthorized access to computers and data. As a result, some tech entrepreneurs are stepping in to offer digital estate planning services. 

Also on this week’s show, host Manoush Zomorodi talks to Anil Dash, who recently wrote the blog post “The Web We Lost” about the way the Internet used to be.

 “There is an ignorance or a lack of history to the way that a lot of people that build the social networks, especially the young engineers, think about this because they weren’t around to see it any other way,” Dash said.

He said he’d like to see the new generation of tech leaders hearken back to some of the collaboration of the Internet’s early years – especially when it comes to putting the user experience first.



Anil Dash

Hosted by:

Manoush Zomorodi

Produced by:

Wayne Shulmister


Charlie Herman


Stan Alcorn

Tech Writer Anil Dash on The Web We Lost

Blogger Anil Dash says we tend to trumpet the tech revolution, with its vast social networks and slick smartphones, as a triumph of usability and empowerment.  But Dash says a spirit of collaboration and emphasis on the user experience has been lost along the way.


Facebook login screen.

Three Barriers that Make it Hard to Pass on Digital Accounts After Death

When we die, we leave behind not just intangible memories and tangible physical possessions, but a whole host of digital accounts that are somewhere in between the two. Unlike the photos and documents you store in your desk, access after death to data stored with email providers and social networking websites is impeded by several major barriers.

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