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?