Everyday Computing, Technology

Digital Life After Death

Image of Dr. Lyndell St. Ville- ICT Consultant
By Dr. Lyndell St. Ville- ICT Consultant

IT seems like only yesterday that we bid farewell to national icons including Chef Harry, and Justice Suzy D’Auvergne. Their untimely deaths should remind us all of our own mortality. We should also consider what happens to our online accounts, digital media and data, when our time comes.

For example, we should carefully consider the consequences of what we post online, and whether such postings are things that we would like to outlive us and to be used in our eulogies. This is true for material that we store “in the cloud” as for other digital belongings.

As a colleague said to me recently: “If it is something that would not do us proud, do not store it in The Cloud….”

Not too long ago, Apple refused a request to give a bereaved relative access to their loved one’s digital purchases of music. In effect, forcing them to re-pay for the music that was already purchased. Ironically, this would NOT happen with a collection of vinyl records, CDs or DVDS. On such occasions, we can clearly see some benefits of having “low tech” media around us.

Generally speaking, our data storage and archival policies are important. A possible approach? Things that need to be stored for safekeeping should be kept safe; things that were personal should be deleted; and things that were in transit should be returned for a decision. Other approaches may be suitable for your individual needs.

Archiving data is important for all sorts of individuals, from homeowners, to library archivists. Long term storage of data requires the maintenance of the data, as well as the technology and media to be used to access that data.

For example, assuming that your data is not all stored “in the cloud,” then long term storage of your tape collection requires the storage of a tape drive. Storage of data on CDs requires the storage of a working CD player.

If your data is stored in the cloud, then you must routinely check that the cloud storage provider is not about to go out of business, and separate you from your data.

Join us next week for more simple tips on making full use of your computing systems.

If you would like to share your views on this article, please contact the author at: [email protected]

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