Death Switch – a good idea or a very bad idea?

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

You can just about have any need catered to these days on the internet – whether it’s takeaway pizza or giggling Japanese schoolgirls in ankle socks whispering kinky thoughts to you via webcam (so I’ve heard anyway).   Now a company called Death Switch is offering you the chance to pass on any important information to your loved ones after your death – in case you were unfortunate enough to die first before being able to choke out your passwords.

This is how it works – you write out an email message with what you want to say to your family.  For a fee, you can also attach something to the email such as a file, a video, pictures, whatever.  You then send it to Death Switch.

They will then email you on a “regular basis” to see if you are still alive and you will tell them by responding to the email.   If you don’t respond, they will apparently send out several more replies over a certain period of time and if you don’t reply to those, Death Switch assumes you are either dead or incapacitated and they will then send out your email to the person you have previously designated.

On the surface, a service like this seems like a good idea.   I have lots of passwords in my head and if I was hit by a bus tomorrow, my partner would have no idea how to access my email (with all my contacts), my Skype (with all my phone numbers) and my online banking (with all my wads of cash).   So having a backup system like this would appear to be good.

But (and there’s always a but) something also bothers me about this.   First of all, would you trust a service like this to hold your sensitive passwords in an email?   What safeguards are in place? I wouldn’t really want them to hold my online banking password.   Secondly, what if the checking emails got into the spam folder accidently and the “Mark is dead” email got sent to my mother?   She might assume it was spam and a joke but then again she might not….cue lots of hysterical screaming over the phone.

What about you?   Would you use a service like this?   Do you see a niche in the market for a service like Death Switch?   Or is this just a cowboy operation out to make a fast buck?

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27 Responses to Death Switch – a good idea or a very bad idea?

  1. hahahahahaahah! LMAO!

    "my partner would have no idea how to access my email (with all my contacts), my Skype (with all my phone numbers) and my online banking (with all my wads of cash). So having a backup system like this would appear to be good."

    Can i be your Death Switch? it would more nice if you also have an offshore account full with $ and about noone than you knows about. Darn this is such a Legal Scam, ahahha but HEY! i bet if they use it first in USA, they would have like 1mil users on the release day, all waiting in a line very patient for a service like this.

    • I didn't say I was using the service because I'm not. My "in case of my death" instructions are now in my metal lockbox. Seeing this website made me realise that I needed to get my affairs in order.

      But no way would I entrust my affairs to a website like this.

  2. hahahahahaahah! LMAO!

    “my partner would have no idea how to access my email (with all my contacts), my Skype (with all my phone numbers) and my online banking (with all my wads of cash). So having a backup system like this would appear to be good.”

    Can i be your Death Switch? it would more nice if you also have an offshore account full with $ and about noone than you knows about. Darn this is such a Legal Scam, ahahha but HEY! i bet if they use it first in USA, they would have like 1mil users on the release day, all waiting in a line very patient for a service like this.

    • I didn’t say I was using the service because I’m not. My “in case of my death” instructions are now in my metal lockbox. Seeing this website made me realise that I needed to get my affairs in order.

      But no way would I entrust my affairs to a website like this.

  3. Wow! Do people actually lose this. They almost deserve to have their money, identity, etc. stolen.

    Hey, I have a great idea! Send me all your private information and I'll read the obituaries everyday to see if your dead because I'll get rich off of all your combined money and borrowing power and not have anything better to do. When you die, I'll send some flowers to your widow(er).

  4. Wow! Do people actually lose this. They almost deserve to have their money, identity, etc. stolen.

    Hey, I have a great idea! Send me all your private information and I’ll read the obituaries everyday to see if your dead because I’ll get rich off of all your combined money and borrowing power and not have anything better to do. When you die, I’ll send some flowers to your widow(er).

    • Jesus, I almost choked on my cup of tea reading your comment! I had this vision of him croaking and falling forward, his head hitting the button that sends out all the death emails to everyone! Ha! Ha! :-)

  5. This seems like a ludicrously bad idea. No, seriously. Aside from the privacy issues, I just don't like the way they check to see if you're alive. There are better ways and yes, a metal lockbox is definitely the preferred way to make sure your affairs are kept in order.

  6. This seems like a ludicrously bad idea. No, seriously. Aside from the privacy issues, I just don’t like the way they check to see if you’re alive. There are better ways and yes, a metal lockbox is definitely the preferred way to make sure your affairs are kept in order.

  7. "I have lots of passwords in my head and if I was hit by a bus tomorrow, my partner would have no idea how to access my email (with all my contacts), my Skype (with all my phone numbers) and my online banking (with all my wads of cash). So having a backup system like this would appear to be good."

    Wouldn't that be fraud if, after your death, your significant other were to access your monies and clear it out?

  8. “I have lots of passwords in my head and if I was hit by a bus tomorrow, my partner would have no idea how to access my email (with all my contacts), my Skype (with all my phone numbers) and my online banking (with all my wads of cash). So having a backup system like this would appear to be good.”

    Wouldn’t that be fraud if, after your death, your significant other were to access your monies and clear it out?

  9. How would it be fraud? She'd need money to pay for the funeral and to clear up my affairs. I would also want her to have my things. It isn't fraud if it's my express will that she should have it.

  10. How would it be fraud? She’d need money to pay for the funeral and to clear up my affairs. I would also want her to have my things. It isn’t fraud if it’s my express will that she should have it.

  11. So, "Death switch". In the tried & true method of the "American Insurance Man", it is virtually impossible to get a bottom-line cost figure. Was anyone able to get a QUOTE of price ?

  12. So, “Death switch”. In the tried & true method of the “American Insurance Man”, it is virtually impossible to get a bottom-line cost figure. Was anyone able to get a QUOTE of price ?

  13. It's not just for passwords. And any person in their right mind wouldn't put the password itself — as the company itself suggests, give hints that can only be deciphered by one person, or divide hints between two people so that they can only understand if they cooperate.

    Doing this in paper would be risky as well; the company's just providing automation. Only a fool would outright put passwords in.

  14. It’s not just for passwords. And any person in their right mind wouldn’t put the password itself — as the company itself suggests, give hints that can only be deciphered by one person, or divide hints between two people so that they can only understand if they cooperate.

    Doing this in paper would be risky as well; the company’s just providing automation. Only a fool would outright put passwords in.

  15. I’m pretty sure it’s just a fun idea and that should be the question, to which the answer would be ‘yes’.

    It COULD be a good idea, if you could trust them as much as you trust your bank with your bank account. And, come to think of it: why do you?…

    So. If they can emulate that trust, then it’s a good idea.

    I read about this concept in “Sum, forty tales from the afterlife” by David Eagleman. I came online, pretty sure of the fact that someone had already did it (before I could try) and, alas, they had. I’m curious if the guys read it in the book also or David Eagleman heard of it from someone else and put it in the book.

    His other ideas seem pretty original, he has 50 small tales about various types of life after death (as the title says, that’s exacly what they are – example of Heavens etc.) and I’m pretty sure he didn’t copy any of them from someone else, otherwise he’d already be exposed. So… did deathswitchdotcom steal his idea? Find out for us, since you are responsible of discussing the subject. :P

  16. I'm pretty sure it's just a fun idea and that should be the question, to which the answer would be 'yes'.

    It COULD be a good idea, if you could trust them as much as you trust your bank with your bank account. And, come to think of it: why do you?…

    So. If they can emulate that trust, then it's a good idea.

    I read about this concept in "Sum, forty tales from the afterlife" by David Eagleman. I came online, pretty sure of the fact that someone had already did it (before I could try) and, alas, they had. I'm curious if the guys read it in the book also or David Eagleman heard of it from someone else and put it in the book.

    His other ideas seem pretty original, he has 50 small tales about various types of life after death (as the title says, that's exacly what they are – example of Heavens etc.) and I'm pretty sure he didn't copy any of them from someone else, otherwise he'd already be exposed. So… did deathswitchdotcom steal his idea? Find out for us, since you are responsible of discussing the subject. :P