Protect Your Life Online if You Flatline

Avoid becoming a victim of the blue screen of death

By Jessica Greene
|  Friday, Sep 11, 2009  |  Updated 2:14 PM EDT
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Protect Your Life Online if You Flatline

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Your life online can fall into a virtual graveyard unless you have passed on a way to unlock passwords if you meet with misfortune.

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Think of how many online accounts you have each, with a username and password that most likely, only you know.

Even if you're anti-Facebook or choose not to hop aboard the Twitter train, chances are you have an email account, or maybe you follow your finances online.

But what if you have an accident, fall into a coma, or worse -- you die, without sharing the secrets that would unlock your personal life online? What happens to all that information? Unless you've passed all your passwords along, chances are your information will be buried in a virtual graveyard.

Now there's a site aimed at solving your post-life password problem.

San Francicso-based Legacy Locker is digital safe-deposit box of sorts, holding the virtual keys to your online accounts.

Jeremy Toeman came up with Legacy Locker after his grandmother died and he couldn't unlock her online information to contact her friends and help manage her affairs.

"In the old days, we'd write letters and leave them with our family or in a safe deposit box." Toeman said, "Today, nobody writes. We only type, or text or whatever."

The site also allows you to upload legal documents like your will, the deed to your house or even a copy of all the cards you carry in your wallet.

The service runs from $30 to $300, depending on what plan you choose.

It sounds a bit morbid, yes, but very necessary. Another service borrows the mood for their name. Slightly Morbid allows you to consolidate all your personal online contacts and should you die or fall into a coma, the service will contact your nearest and dearest with a personal message from you.

Another site, Death Switch, sends emails to confirm you are alive if your online activity flatlines. If you don't respond after a certain number of contacts, the service sends your pre-scripted message to the people you've designated.

Whether it's a death notice or a digital safe keeping vault, the emergence of these sites highlight a new need, forged by our new lives -- online and beyond.

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