This morning, TODAY covered the story of “Digital Amnesia” — the experience of forgetting information that you trust a digital device to store and remember for you. We keep phone numbers, emails and even some passcodes on our digital devices which puts our information at risk and means our brains are out of the habit of memorizing this important information.
According to the study The Rise and Impact of Digital Amnesia by Kaspersky Lab, almost all (91.2%) of those surveyed agreed that they use the Internet as an online extension of their brain. Almost half (44.0%) also admit that their smartphone serves as their memory–everything they need to recall and want to have easy access to is all on it.
How do you fare against these simple questions:
– Can you dial the phone numbers of your family members from memory?
– How often have you reset a passcode in the past week because you couldn’t recall it?
The owner(s) of the online site(s) you accepted the “terms and conditions” to before getting access dictate your digital rights on their service. Our world moved faster than the laws and after years of frustration, many of the online giants are starting to do more to address the issue of digital asset rights for their users. Google created an “Inactive Account Manager” but it is only a very broad safety net. The shortest term for inactivity is 3 months.
I’m glad Facebook has done something, however, since 7 out of 10 Americans that turn 65 will need 3 years of care before they die, we must recognize that someone needs to be able to assist us long before we leave this planet and this isn’t just an issue for older americans. At the age of 40 nearly half of Americans will face a disability lasting 90-days; are you prepared to let a loved one step in and help you when you need it?
I encourage you to set up a system to be able to share the digital keys to your estate, should someone need to act on your behalf, if even only temporarily.