Monday, July 14, 2014

Yahoo start a service for dead users

Very recently, a new service was published by Yahoo Japan. It will delete all data on Yahoo Box belonging to the user who is proven to be dead.

NHK NEWS WEB: Delete the data on cloud of dead people (in Japanese)

You may have some information whom you do not want to be published after you die. This service looks to meet your need.

However, this report by NHK is actually misleading. The service is called "Yahoo Ending", including some contents such as administration of funeral. If you register it in advance, Yahoo will send a message to some persons you choose when you are cemented. Thus, this service is not a kind of protection of privacy, but a type of business around ceremony.

CNET Japan: Yahoo start a service to delete data after death (in Japanese)

Yahoo Ending (In Japanese)

In terms of data deleting service, I am afraid that it will not be successful. There are some reasons for it.

First, Yahoo commits deleting data only on its cloud storage. Nobody would upload the data which are risky after the death of the user. You perhaps want to have hard disks or other physical storages destroyed after your death, don't you? Of course Yahoo never provides such services.

Second, it is uncertain how bereaved families would think about it. Currently, family members have difficulty to investigate could storage of dead persons. The new service will ease them in this aspect. On the other hand, what happen if family members want to see the data of the deceased person after Yahoo deleted the data? I think that this kind of conflict frequently occurs.

Third, most IT users are unconscious to the risk of mortality. I am doubtful that many users are willing to register this service. In contrast, elder people seldom use could storage service. Their secret treasures are usually physical items rather than logical data.

By the way, there have been several services to send the password of your accounts to your relatives after you die. Unfortunately, they have some big risks. The service provider would become bankrupt, or cracked. Or you would survive for many years, to pay the fee continuously. Indeed, I could not access

Tech Crunch: PassMyWill Is A Will For Your Online Assets And Passwords

After all, I believe that this kind of service should be bundled to a life insurance. People who consider to make a contract with a life insurance company are certainly concerned with the issues after he dies. And these companies are considerably invulnerable, at least compared to most internet companies.

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