recommended reading

Google Death: A Tool to Take Care of Your Gmail When You're Gone

Perhaps you, like me, have had the pleasure of finding some old family letters or calendars squirreled away in a box somewhere, and sitting there for hours, reading about the daily life of your family before you existed.

But for future generations, those quotidian texts won't exist in a physical form but in digital files -- emails, electronic calendars, even maybe some grocery or party-lists filed away in Google Drive. The question isn't so much whether we are creating these records but whether anyone in the future will have access to them, locked away behind our passwords (and perhaps our 2-step notification process too).

For years now, lawyers, scholars, and even the government have been urging us to prepare for this eventuality. Write a social-media will, they plead, some sort of spelled-out plan for how your online life should be handled post-mortem.

And while doing so is definitely a good idea, there are also some complications: If you leave your social-media information as part of a will, it becomes public information, and you might want to keep the stuff behind your password private, even after your death. Additionally, people have many passwords and change them frequently; it's a pain to keep a social-media will current.

Google has now rolled out a technological solution, a euphemistically titled "Inactive Account Manager" tool ("Control what happens to your account when you stop using Google," the company says, i.e. die). With the tool, you set an amount of time you want Google to wait before taking action (3, 6, 9 months, or a year). One month before that deadline, if Google hasn't heard from you, it will send you an alert by either email or text message. If that month closes out and you still have not re-entered your account, Google will notify your "trusted contacts" -- you can list up to 10 -- and share your data with them if you have so chosen.

Read more at The Atlantic

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.