Sunday , October 17 2021

Virtual death or virtual eternity: What happens to data after death? (Mor Ndiaye Mbaye)

The explosion of Internet and social networks in just a few years has only seen intense changes in customs, behaviors and attitudes of Internet users. Absolutely in her infants, the Web has become an everyday tool by everyone, corporations, individuals, governments, and even banditry! A container has a conversion of what's happening in people's lives.

We are now talking about a web 3.0 or semantic web defined by Tim Bernerslee as a "web of data that can be processed directly and indirectly by machines to help their users create new information": large data. It fits the junction between the physical universe and the digital universe to lead to websites of things or the Internet from where these are, beyond the mines of Information they store, can teach them and enrich their knowledge stocks. For example, an associated fridge may know that it does not have specific foods, and with the consent of its owner, log into a commercial site, shop, order, pay and order to receive goods.

The result is that the user is left with all the life on the web, his personal identification data or personal data that refers to any data that is associated with him and allowing him to know .

Inherently, but especially all types of information that is related to a person; his memory, his interests, his eating habits, his frequent places, his hobbies, his friends, his productions and intellectual work, is short, his whole life. The wealth of this information for each user is spread, so to speak, in the cloud that is today Internet, has been stored in data centers, but can be reconstituted easy, if necessary, for commercial purposes, legal, military, police.

What happens to this information after a death?

The question of "digital death" that gained a legal but also social dimension of this question. Today the dead still exist numerically in social networks; Facebook, twitter, Instagram, email and other accounts remain open and remind the contacts on the anniversary of deceased people and invite them to wish them a happy birthday. Professional networks such as Linkedin, Viadéo do the same by asking them for their professional professional anniversary; some email administrators have configured accordingly even sending automatic messages (such as automatic remuneration or temporary absence reporting); advertisers even send advertising offers, etc. We are talking about the individual's virtual immortality or virtual imaginativeness.

Digital heritage

It adds that all the information described above and many other people give digital heritage to the user often market in will. It should be noted that the apparent economic model of the platforms is free (Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) basically sells this data to advertisers, insurers, bankers, and others). The digital heritage of this user includes all of its existing documents in an original digital format or from a digitization process (text, audio, mobile, mobile, videos, databases, software, patents, etc.), which are being store on the web and get a specific market or emotional value. Only on the current state of the laws in force, to open these accounts, that they are a messenger or on a social network on the Internet gives their author's unique personal rights. This is the right to respect his private life and thereby protect his personal data. As this data is by strict and strict nature, members of the family or friends can not access it without their consent.

The right to digital death

In France, Law No. 2016-1321 of October 7, 2016 "for a Digital Republic" proposed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Ms. Axelle Lemaire, provides a framework for the "digital death" by stating: "Anyone can define guidance on the retention, elimination and communication of personal data after his death". This law, although it gives the possibility of appointing a third-party digital certified by the Nationale Informatique et Liberté (CNIL) Commission, leaves, according to some analysts, "an inconsistency between attraction of law inheritance and personal protection of the rights recognized to the person on its collected data ".

Obviously, there is a legal vacuum that can not fill the general use conditions of the sites and other confidentiality commitments offered to create the accounts. Should one, in the event of death declare properly, close the accounts and delete the data? Transfer to potential heirs who do not have the same vision of their later use? Is there any risk of breach of confidentiality in case of disclosure against the wishes of the deceased?

What answers to consider?

Some approaches used by webwire.

Web wars have a different approach to the management of post-mortem data from their deceased clients from their relatives after providing evidence of illegal material from the death of the concerns and the elements that can justify their relationship.

Twitter: offers a form that allows relatives to request closing the deceased's account. The completed form must be sent to his headquarters in San Francisco.

Facebook: advocates are a "memorial" status for deceased users. The profile is still active and only Facebook friends can be used, as most features are inaccessible.

Google: device advocates from a Non-Executive Account Manager. The principle is that a "non-executive manager user" is defined by the user and that will control all the data associated with the Google account and all the services Related (YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive, Google+, etc.) and once the account is no longer active according to pre-defined parameters. There are two answers: either we will ask to close the account after his death, or we will ask to transfer all his personal data to one or more relatives previously designated.

Europe certainly has the General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD) that allows anyone to use the right to access, the right to forget, the right to withdraw, but also right to enable its data to This law but apply to companies that control personal data from European citizens.

Since we can see the security of the post-mortem transmission of our digital data to potential heirs or relatives or our "digital burial" as simple and death as a second objection as other options for managing our digital data after our physical death. One as the other option leads us to the need to establish systematic wills for unavoidable control. As Sylvain Aubert Edeneo thinks: "Digital digital identifiers can not be found in the digital world due to the significant hacking risks faced by different websites and identity-bearing. it must be addressed, "it does.

Mor Ndiaye Mbaye

Managing Director of FDSUT / ARTP

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