What is a digital legacy, and why is it important? Your digital legacy is your own identity that you find on your computer and online. And if something, unfortunately, was to happen to you, your family wouldn't be able to legally access your accounts without some forward-thinking on your part.
Some online accounts are easy to think of, but others we don't really remember or realise we've passed on our personal details. Examples of accounts include:
Social media accounts
Banking and investment accounts
Blog and website domains
Gaming accounts and
School and university accounts
Having a concrete plan and having your wishes known about your digital legacy can help people manage your online information and help protect your reputation and identity. The eSafety Commissioner writes there are two different types of digital legacies.
Your digital assets include items that you've bought over your time online. Things like ebooks, games, music, website domains and blogs. It also includes your personal accounts and passwords for platforms you've shopped on or subscribed to. While you don't actually own those assets despite paying money, you still have rights and exemptions for the content.
Your digital presence is the identity you have created through the time and activity you've spent online. This can look like social media posts, e-mails, videos and photographs. In addition, anything connected to you through other people, yourself or on behalf of companies all contributes to your digital presence.
How can you plan so your digital legacy is straightforward and manageable?
Make a list of your digital assets and presence as best as you can
Securely document user identification, passwords and account details and let someone you trust know where they can access those details
Write down your plans and wishes regarding your digital legacy and include them with your online information for your trusted person.
Some social media accounts have information and planning you can implement to ensure your digital details are best looked after. At any time this can be activated if necessary.
While it can be challenging to think about the future and make decisions regarding your digital presence and legacy, it's essential to have a plan in place and have a conversation with people you trust who will act on your behalf if they need.
eSafety Commissioner. (2019). Digital Legacy. https://www.esafety.gov.au/key-issues/how-to/digital-legacy
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