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:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    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
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

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