A Survey on the Fate of Digital Footprints after Death

Carsten Grimm

When we die, we leave imprints of our online lives behind. What should be the fate of these digital footprints after our death? Using a crowdsourced online survey with 400 participants from four countries, we investigate how users want their digital footprint handled after their death, how they would like to communicate these preferences, and whom they would entrust with carrying out this part of their will.

We poll users' sentiments towards an online service curating digital footprints. We let users comment on design questions regarding this service posed by Locasto, Massimi, and De Pasquale (2011, NSPW). Interestingly, responses across countries and religions were similar. The vast majority of participants had never considered the fate of their digital footprint. When faced with the choice, our participants request a non-profit service primarily for deleting their accounts upon receiving a death certificate.

This is a practice talk for USEC 2014.