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What happens to spam after you die?

It's an interesting question – and certainly something that can be classified, for now, as a ‘first world problem'. But, sooner or later, the question of ‘What happens to a person's data when they're dead' will come up for almost everyone on the planet.

KitGuru plays the theme tune from MASH and sits back to ponder the abyss.

A friend of KitGuru, visited their grandmother to find the old dear armed with a Biro pen and a mega pack of small stickers – going around the house labeling everything with someone's name.

In the past, this is what we accepted as ‘planning for your future'. The old dear was making a conscious choice on where her most important possessions would go when she was gone.

These days, few would argue that one of our most important possessions is our data. So what happens to it when we're gone?

Then there is the corporate perspective.

If you are Microsoft – and you have put a massive system in place for the exchange of online spam called Hotmail – for how many years after a person has passed away, should you continue to deliver offers of Viagra and chances to join with unfortunate Nigerian Generals in the removal of ‘funds most important and unclaimed dearest esteemed sir' from their country?

Yesterday, Google's Product Manager for Death – Andreas Tuerk – posted on his blog about a new system that Google has for ‘What to do in the case of total inactivity on an account'.

It's a smart move – and one which the Kings of Modern Day Spam over at Hotmail central are likely to follow suit on.

Facebook has the option to memorialise an account.


KitGuru says: As we move toward a cloud-based existence, lawyers around the world must be preparing for huge new arguments about who owns what and where – especially if some of that data could include ‘dodgy pictures of famous people who have died without leaving any instructions about the contents of their secure online storage. It's a different world, tomorrow. Strange and new.

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