As a Finnish modern saying goes, “Life is man’s prime time” – but it is sure to end some day, and more and more of our identity will remain alive in the digital online world after we are gone. Managing all your services can already be a daunting task for you yourself when alive, let alone for anyone else looking after your heritage after your earthly journey, be they a spouse, a relative, or a friend. Furthermore, they don’t know how you would like your digital identities and remaining traces online to continue, nor have the means to access the services.
Swedish web startup My Webwill has addressed this problem by creating a secure online service that lets you decide how your online Internet presence should look like after your death, shutting down your online identities, or handing them over to friends and family. The service has just launched globally, after a couple of month’s beta testing in Sweden.
My Webwill offers you the possibility of determining how you would like all your photos, blogs, social network accounts, and other immaterial assets to exist, or cease to exist, after you are gone. You will determine what should happen with each account in the event of your death, and your wishes and access passwords to your online services can be stored to My Webwill for your loved ones left behind. In addition to transfering your account info, you can also set up your accounts to be deleted or hidden, or even trigger a change of content – for instance leave one last status update on your Facebook profile, or trigger pre-written emails to your loved ones.
The founders mention being in touch desperate relatives who were stuck in time-consuming and seemingly impossible process of trying to get access to their passed-away close ones’ accounts with big online services. Some were worried that public information, such as the blog of the deceased, would disappear, while some particularly wanted to remove all the online traces. The online services often don’t take well single personal requests, and without passwords the relatives were left powerless.
When creating an account to My Webwill, you will choose two persons to become “trusted verifiers,” who are notified and asked to inform My Webwill in the event of your death. When My Webwill gets such notification, the firm ensures the information is correct and requests a copy of the death certificate. Upon recieving the copy, the firm unlocks and decrypts your passwords and other information, and initiate the process of executing your last wishes.
It is easy to see a big market for the kind of service My Webwill offers, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more service providers surface in the coming years. The biggest challenge for customer adoption most likely is, as typical when it comes to your own death, that people do not really (want to) think too far ahead. Another problem a startup faces, is whether one can trust the firm to be around for years to come, and how safe one’s data is. My Webwill has addressed at least the latter issue by aligning Symantec as an international security provider partner, claiming the digital security giant has accepted the firm’s internal security processes and systems.