By Misty A. Watson
Google is giving users an innovative tool for long-term planning of digital data and access to inactive Google accounts. Welcome to estate planning for your Google account.
As many families have experienced, the terms of service for most types of online accounts from most providers do not generally allow for the transfer of access to an account in the event of death. As more people begin to store important documents, photos, videos, and other items of sentimental value online, gaining access to the information has become an increasingly important issue in estate planning, according to Brett Watz with Mind of the Geek.
On Thursday April 11, 2013, Google addressed this issue head on by rolling out its Inactive Account Manager. This feature allows a Google user to designate a particular person (or persons) as manager of the Google account once it becomes inactive. This trusted friend or family member will receive access to the user’s emails, videos, photos, and documents in the inactive Google account for many of its services, such as Mail and YouTube. The user selects which data can be accessed. Note that it appears that this policy does not extend to information contained in paid Google services (see The Digital Reader’s post by Nate Hoffelder). Continue reading »
04/12/13 4:03 PM
Digital Media, Estate Planning, Trusts | Comment (0) |
What You’ve Been Waiting for – Estate Planning for Your Google Account
By Ruth Binger
Thanks to an exponential growth rate in technology, the Internet has changed the world and how we communicate with each other. In 1995, 16 million people used the Internet. Last year, 2 billion people used the Internet and in 2020 it is predicted that the number will be over 5 billion.
Google, a 12-year-old company, has certainly fueled this growth. Social media platforms have also supercharged Internet usage. Facebook claims to have over 800 million active subscribers, LinkedIn claims 85 million subscribers and YouTube has over 100 million videos online.
However, the way we relate to and judge each other, whether it is for employment, relationships, or credit history, has not changed. We are all trying to predict each other’s future behavior for the relationship(s) and transactions we seek.
Facebook purports to be worth $104 billion with its purchase of Instagram. Why is it worth so much? Because companies are spending over $2 billion per year to collect information from social media outlets about what we as consumers want. Our behavior and our opinions can be measured in fine detail as we post and that behavior can be monetized. For example, it is estimated that your personal/buying information is worth $50 to $500 to Google, depending upon how much you spend. On Twitter, each of your followers, assuming you have a large following, could be worth as much as $2.50 each per month. In short, personal data greases the Internet. The data we share (names, addresses, pictures, precise locations, and links) helps companies target advertising based not only on demographic but also on personal opinion and desires.
What does all of this information mean to you as an individual? Technology rules will continue to change, so you need to be vigilant. It is important for you to keep up with the positives and negatives of the rapidly changing technology. Right now, social media is at its height but it is designed for websites. That is predicted to change as the world moves to smartphones. Nearly $1 million worth of features come with any smartphone and there are a billion smartphones in the world. Within the next decade, 6 billion people will have a constant connection to the Internet. This explains why Facebook recently bought Instagram, a mobile app company, for $1 billion. Facebook wants to conquer the smartphone market and not be left behind. Continue reading »
05/2/12 9:04 AM
Business Law, Digital Media, Employment Law, Manufacturing and Distribution | Comments Off |
Social Media: Six Ways to Protect Today’s You and Tomorrow’s You
By David A. Zobel
Within the past few months more and more news outlets have reported stories of employers asking job applicants for their Facebook login information. While many applicants understandably feel uncomfortable with the idea of their potential employer delving through their private lives, applicants are typically not in the position to decline.
This new trend has sparked an inevitable inquiry: is it legal? At this time, the answer is uncertain. Like many issues arising from the fast-paced and ever-changing world of the Internet and social media, the law has not caught up with the question. There does not appear to be a statute, regulation or court decision directly on point – either at the federal or state level. Consequently, experts on both sides of the issue have begun considering and arguing whether any statutes, regulations, or court decisions indirectly apply to the issue.
Missouri statute does not appear to directly prohibit such a practice; however, this does not mean it is wise for employers to engage in it. The reason has little to do with the actual practice of asking for the login information, but rather concerns what may be potentially discovered by such practice. No, I am not referring to finding rants about past employers or photos of bad decisions and misdemeanors. Employers should be concerned about finding family or pregnancy photos, photos of the applicant in the hospital, and/or religious views.
Continue reading »
04/23/12 11:56 AM
Business Law, Digital Media, Emerging Business, Employment Law, Litigation, Manufacturing and Distribution | Comments Off |
The Facebook Folly: Why Browsing an Applicant’s Facebook Profile Could Present Problems for Missouri Employers