In honor of Halloween and the last day of Information Literacy Awareness Month, we visit today about a somewhat morbid, but important topic. According to recent surveys, the average American accesses two dozen password protected websites from various computers, mobile phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. You create a lot of stuff online, but have you thought about what’s going to happen to it long term? Do you have a plan to track what accounts you create and go back and delete them if you’re no longer using them? If something would happen to you, will someone be able to access the videos, recordings, and photos you leave behind? Thinking ahead another key part of being information literate. You may want to have a discussion with your family now about what will happen to your e-mail account, your Facebook profile, your online photos, your online banking if you pass on and what will happen to theirs if they do. This is especially important for younger people to discuss with their parents who probably have never considered it.
Slate identifies 3 key risks:
1. Online Bills – Will a loved one be able to access them to continue to ensure they are paid or without a hard copy coming in the mail to remind them, will they even realize they exist?
2. Loss of Data – Photos, e-mails, recordings of favorite songs can all be lost without access to passwords.
3. Losing Control of Your Personal Legacy – What will happen to what you’ve placed online? Without access to accounts that is up to the websites (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, etc.) that you’ve dealt with.
Find a longer discussion of the hazards and what you can do to plan ahead in this piece from the District of Columbia Bar Association: