People concerned about what remains on the internet when they die are compiling “digital wills” to help erase any embarrassing online legacies, it has emerged.
Increasing number of Britons are leaving their passwords, login details, passwords and detailed instructions to digital executors who then use that personal information to tidy up web-based information.
By accessing the information from a secure server, an executor can erase secret email folders, close subscriptions to gambling or pornography websites or remove photographs from Facebook pages.
The digital wills keep passwords in a secret location but can allow paying clients to update them. When they die, a named guardian can access the information when a death certificate is presented.
Figures show the average person now has 26 internet accounts for a range of services including email, banking online shopping, social media sites, Skype and PayPal, The Telegraph said.
Cirrus Legacy, one of Britain’s first digital legacy companies, has more than 500 clients after being founded earlier this year.
“The idea was spawned because most of my life is organised online and I have got so many accounts,” Paul Golding, its co-founder told The Sunday Times.
At present, Facebook does not release a person’s password to next of kin and only closes the page after being shown the death certificate, which can take months.
When a Facebook user dies and the company is informed, their page can be “memorialised”, hiding features such as status updates and allowing only confirmed friends to view the timeline and post comments on the profile, the paper said.