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November 26, 2008

Passwords for the dead

I know this is a little morbid, but just the other day I was thinking about the social networking sites that I visit and how many of my friends are on there.  People that I know but maybe my wife doesn’t.  If I was to die how would those people get notified?  So that lead me to think about other people out there.  For instance if something was to happen to Heather and she had a password on her computer.  I have the experience to be able to get around that.  But other people in the world don’t.  So what happens in that case.  Data, pictures, whatever gets lost?  Or I suppose some people would try to pay someone to hack the computer.  So then I went back to the social sites.  I wonder if you would be able to contact them to get the password changed or something if for instance one of your children died?  Let’s say somebodys husband likes to play online poker.  It’s not really something his wife knows too much about, nor really cares.  However maybe he has a few thousand dollars in his account.  How would his wife get access to that money if something happened?

This is something that a lot of people probably haven’t though about.  Honestly I don’t even know my wifes phone number because it’s saved in my cell phone.  What I’m getting at is the “address book” that used to be stored in the house somewhere really isn’t that common anymore.  I don’t know what will come out of this for me and my family but it came to mind and I thought I’d rant about it.

None-the-less the real reason I decided to blog this was because low and behold there was a story on Slashdot today that someone asked the same sort of question.  If you read the comments some people I think are a little overboard.  Other than that what caught my eye is how dry and hilarious techy people are.  Some of them are just nerds and can’t communicate but some of them are downright hilarious.  One way or another the topic turned to how the at home fire safes sold at retailers will still reach temperatures in the hundreds during a fire, therefore ruining electronics like USB thumb drives that some guys said they kept all their passwords on.  Read this comment it was one of my favorites:

“Okay, so here’s what you do. You keep a padded, heat-resistant safe in an upstairs room of the house. Mount wheels on it, and place it on an inclined track, facing toward a pre-scored section of thinner wall. Rest it against a swing gate or chock held shut by a locking device made of lead. If your house starts on fire, the heat will melt the lead, the gate will open, and the safe will roll down the incline, bursting through the wall and landing safely in the yard, outside the major heat zone.

Of course, you have the problem of your house becoming a flaming safe-launcher as well as being on fire… I’m sure that can all be worked out in the implementation.”

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