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Illinois Prof Calls for a Federal Law To Safeguard Digital Afterlives 82

An anonymous reader writes "A new paper from Professor Jason Mazzone at the University of Illinois calls for federal laws to regulate what happens to digital accounts after the account holder's death. Mazzone argues that Facebook and other online services have policies for deceased users' accounts that do not adequately protect the individual property and privacy interests at stake. The full text of the paper (called "Facebook's Afterlife") is also available: "
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Illinois Prof Calls for a Federal Law To Safeguard Digital Afterlives

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  • Here's my solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <> on Friday September 28, 2012 @11:13PM (#41496547) Homepage Journal
    I just don't put the only accessible copies of important files (even photographs and blog entries) in the hands of facebook, google, or anyone of the like. Files are on my own systems (including my own webserver). Why should I trust those other sites to act in my best interest, whether I am alive or not?
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday September 28, 2012 @11:46PM (#41496685) Homepage Journal

    Probably because so many corporations would sell babies for dog food if there wasn't a law that says otherwise. There are many bad behaviors that at a personal level are covered by common decency but corporations are functionally sociopathic and only respond to laws. Then there's the people (many on /.) that for some reason think that's just fine.

  • by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @12:26AM (#41496819)

    And since this is so obvious from a business standing, we don't really need any legislation to encourage it.

    Oh man, good joke.
    Just like when businesses used toxic chemicals to conduct their business and let it slide off into the creek/river.
    Just like when coal companies cleaned up the coal dust because it caused health issues and made cities look bad.
    Right... I trust businesses to do only one thing... keep their wallets fat so the little that we peons do get when it trickles down, makes us just happy we have a job.
    19th century here we come!

  • by Instine ( 963303 ) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @08:17AM (#41498011)
    Then block it. Or stop using facebook. But it sure as hell won't be the only reminder. Or the 'worst'. I refer you to my earlier post on how precious a late loved one's FB account can be. FB could be smarter bout reminders, but I've found it by far the most considerate info holder of my wife's (in this respect). It allows you to register the profile as being of someone who has died, with very little fuss, many nice touches happened. E.g. She's still in my friends list, but if I start typing her first name in a post, it won't auto suggest it. This is a very nice touch indeed. Very considerate. Where as the local government might send me a form requiring her signiture to confirm she's no longer requiring service X. Srsly. Despite being told why we needed to cancel. And having multiple other similar notifications. She still gets more mail than me. Every day... So no, I don't agree with this.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas