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From personal data to digital legacy: Exploring conflicts in the sharing, security and privacy of post-mortem data

Lookup NU author(s): Jack Holt, Dr James Nicholson, Dr Jan Smeddinck



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 ACM. As digital technologies become more prevalent there is a growing awareness of the importance of good security and privacy practices. The tools and techniques used to achieve this are typically designed with the living user in mind, with little consideration of how they should or will perform after the user has died. We report on two workshops carried out with users of password managers to explore their views on the post-mortem sharing, security and privacy of a range of common digital assets. We discuss a post-mortem privacy paradox where users recognise value in planning for their digital legacy, yet avoid actively doing so. Importantly, our findings highlight a tension between the use of recommended security tools during life and facilitating appropriate post-mortem access to chosen assets. We offer design recommendations to facilitate and encourage digital legacy planning while promoting good security habits during life.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Holt J, Nicholson J, Smeddinck JD

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: The Web Conference 2021: Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2021)

Year of Conference: 2021

Pages: 2745-2756

Online publication date: 30/06/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2021

Date deposited: 17/06/2022

Publisher: ACM


DOI: 10.1145/3442381.3450030

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781450383127