It’s 2019 and almost every single person on this planet is present on social media. This digital era bear evidences of every single life lived online. Photos, videos, links, opinions, etc everything remains preserved on the World Wide Web. The breadcrumbs we leave behind on the internet are known as a digital footprint. All of these utilities certainly make your life easier; the data doesn’t get lost and is easily accessible from anywhere. Now what happens after we die? Where does our data go?
Digital Footprint: Where does it go after a person's demise?
Digital remains refer to all sorts of data left by a deceased person. The online content you generate will be left behind after you die. The emails you sent, text messages, pictures, dating profiles and social media accounts; all of them come without an expiry date.
Everyone now knows that Google builds a digital profile of every single user on the internet. The data is stored somewhere on Google’s server. The tech giant knows everything about you including your marital status, age, browsing pattern, things you love, things you hate and practically everything.
After our demise, Google owns this data. The digital footprint will remain on this Earth. On the similar grounds, Facebook stores your data. It creates your digital autobiography. It highlights your milestone, stores the events, restaurants you’ve been to, memes that made you laugh, etc.
Though a life might end on the Earth, but it still continues to exist on the web. There is still no way to figure out how to deal with the digital footprints of deceased persons. There are legal and social precedents for handling of physical remains and distribution of one’s property. However, laws have not been able to keep up with the growing innovation.
It is yet to be figured out how to reconcile the ephemerality of death with the forever lingering footprints of our digital lives. The body is deceased but the digital ghosts remain.