Young people think a lot this year, whether to leave or delete the digital heritage

  Chat records, call records, email records, records on QQ space, Weibo, Moments, photos in mobile phones, game equipment... How to deal with these digital heritage after a person's death?

This is a new question.


  This young man thinks a lot, not only thinking about life and death, but also about inheritance, although there may not be many assets to inherit.

But there is a legacy that everyone has.

Chat records, call records, email records, records on QQ space, Weibo, Moments, photos in mobile phones, game equipment... How to deal with these digital heritage after a person's death?

This is a new question.

  Wang Bing, a mental health doctor at Peking University, said that in general understanding, digital heritage can be divided into two categories, one is digital assets, such as Bitcoin; the other is digital records, such as chat records and Moments records.

The former involves "real money" and has legal references; while the latter is more of a personal choice and there is no basis to rely on.

  We are going to discuss the latter.

Regarding the retention of digital heritage, there are two diametrically opposed voices: some people think that the memory of the deceased should be left, so that the living can be comforted; others think that the digital heritage belongs to the privacy of the deceased and is left for future generations to pry into. It is disrespect for the deceased.

Keep or delete?

  Xiao Ai, a girl born in the 90s, does not shy away from talking about death. “In your life, you don’t know which accident or tomorrow will come first.” The only thing she wants to leave is the remains. She has signed a donation agreement. As for the digital heritage, “I will Delete all the digital data before death, wave his sleeves, and not take away a cloud."

  Most of the things Xiao Ai publishes on the Internet are records of his life: the weather today is particularly good, send a circle of friends; see a "sand sculpture" dog on the road, take a photo; Beijing often rains the last two days , After the rain, there was another blue sky and white clouds. Xiao Ai passed by a puddle and photographed the reflection of the sky.

  In Xiao Ai's view, everything in his mobile computer is considered digital heritage, including photos, chat history, Weibo, and even playlists.

As for browsing records and search records, she will clear them regularly, "I had a crush on a boy before, and I searched the Internet for questions such as'what type of girl does Aries guy like?" What is the love fortune of Scorpio?' When I opened the browser in front of my colleague, the webpage automatically popped up, which was embarrassing."

  Xiao Ai feels that there is a big difference between her image on the Internet and in reality. "On the Internet, I am a synthesis of literature and art and'sand sculpture'. In reality, everyone thinks I am a cold person. Nowadays, the circle of friends is not very real. The place is just a tool to connect with people around, so that everyone can see a happy me."

  Some people cherish their internet traces very much and hope to keep them for others to see.

Yinwu, a male student who has just graduated from graduate school, is about to become a programmer.

He doesn't like posting things on the Internet, even if he has been online for 10 years at station B, he can hold the comments on one page.

  In Otonashi's view, digital heritage is a record related to one's own life experience. It may not be valuable, but it is meaningful.

The QQ space in middle school kept many pictures of him with a beard, which was actually older than his teacher. In college graduation photos, he and his roommates lined up with each other. One "sent" a shock wave, while the others were "knocked down" by cooperating with him... …"So ashamed, good secondary, so missed."

  "Through the circle of friends over the years, I have recorded almost every node and key event in my life, and I will see the changes in my state, how to become more mature from a'comme', this is its value as a legacy. If When my next generation sees this, they will understand me better." Yinwu said.

  What is interesting is that young people’s attitude towards digital heritage is on the one hand very cautious, and on the other hand they think more simply.

Wang Bing said: "When we were discussing digital heritage, we actually didn't think about whether we would have an accident tomorrow, and we might not make a plan. Our knowledge and actions on digital heritage have not been synchronized yet."

How to stay?

Who is it for?

  For Yinwu, thinking more is not about what to keep and what to delete, but the technical question of "how to keep". "For example, the data of Qzone and Moments, in fact, does not belong to us, and the ownership is in the hands of the company. I want my digital heritage to truly belong to me".

  As a prospective programmer, Yinwu tends to filter the digital heritage: only keep the content of important nodes in life-convert it into NFT format (an application on the blockchain that can be used to represent unique things, and is currently more targeted Game or artwork field-reporter's note) save.

  In June of this year, Apple announced that it would launch a "digital heritage plan." After users add heritage contacts to their accounts, if the user accidentally passes away, users who are set as heritage contacts can apply for access to related content.

Tencent applied for a patent authorization entitled "Information processing methods and related devices in the transfer of digital asset certificates" in March 2019. This patent can help users in need to transfer their digital heritage to the corresponding heirs. Under the name.

  However, for most people, technology is not the primary concern, who is left with the digital heritage.

  Netizen "Hu Gancui" has just passed the postgraduate entrance examination. She is a 5G surfer on the Internet. There are more than 1,600 accounts followed on Weibo alone.

She sometimes searches the Internet for the name of a deceased relative. Even if he is not a celebrity, the search page will not show any information about him, but she always has a mentality—what if?

What if you can see some traces left by him?

  From the perspective of "Hu Gankui", whether the digital heritage should be kept or not is no longer important to the people who have passed away. Let the survivors look at the people who used to be through social media.

  Regarding his digital heritage, "Hu Gankui" wanted to find three friends to associate himself with the accounts of his friends as his close ties.

If you pass away unfortunately, your friend can issue an obituary in the name of "I" and inform relatives and friends of the last words; but only for this, the friend cannot browse other unpublished information, nor is it allowed to post other content.

  Only associate the account and don’t tell your friends the account password. "Hu Gankui" thinks this is a safer approach: you can give someone around you an explanation after death, and you don’t have to worry about the private content being discovered. What to do if you do illegal things through your account?"

  Wang Bing has seen a story. After a young man died unexpectedly, his parents hoped to get his email password and all the letters in the mailbox to find the last memory of his son.

However, the company believes that this infringes on personal privacy. The ultimate action is to engrave all the contents of the mailbox into an encrypted disc and give it to the family, but without telling the password, that is, the parents "own" the digital heritage but cannot read it.

When we are thinking about digital heritage, what are we thinking about

  "Parents did not have the Internet in those days, and the commemorative items that can be left are nothing more than photos. The reason why young people born in the 1990s attach importance to digital heritage is because most of our lives are recorded in digital form." Yinwu said, " When they saw news of the sudden death of young people or health problems, everyone began to feel that it seemed necessary to talk about death."

  Wang Bing said that the real world and the virtual world have been integrated now. Everyone will have a part in the virtual world, which is associated with various data. It seems that there is a "digital avatar", which is more and more young. One of the reasons why people began to consider dealing with digital heritage.

  In addition, young people nowadays have more and more self-awareness and privacy awareness. As an independent living body, they want to have absolute control over themselves.

This kind of autonomy gradually extends from before they are alive to behind. They don't want to lose control of themselves after death, so they need to prepare in advance.

  "Compared with conventional heritage, digital heritage is immortal to a certain extent." Wang Bing said, taking photos as an example, physical photos will fade, but digital photos can be passed on forever, and digital photos can be copied and spread. , Chat history and other digital heritages are the same.

  "It is precisely because of the reproducibility and dissemination characteristics, which also brings the danger of digital heritage. Once disseminated, it will be a great test for the privacy of the parties." Wang Bing said, "From a physical point of view, after a person dies, Pathological anatomy can be used to explore the cause of death, and people’s digital life also leaves a reflection of their inner world. Through digital heritage, they can be subjected to a “psychological autopsy”. We used to say that people can take away secrets when they are gone. Now, digital heritage Keep the secret from being taken away."

  Xiao Ai feels that the functions of social platforms nowadays are similar to those of writing diaries when they were young. Letting other people read their own Weibo and WeChat accounts is equivalent to reading a diary, which makes people very uncomfortable.

  "Some of the things posted on Weibo and WeChat were originally'visible only to themselves'. I didn't want to be seen at that time, nor after I died. I don't want my family or friends to remember me by browsing through my circle of friends. , Everyone just needs to remember me in their hearts.” Xiao Ai said, “Many people’s moods or states may not be understood by others. I don’t think it is necessary to be seen and commented on after death.”

  At present, there are still many ambiguities in digital heritage. For example, many digital records are generated interactively and involve interpersonal relationships-the chat records between me and you are counted as my heritage or yours?

What happens to the other party after being inherited by one of the descendants?

For example, most of the digital heritage is stored on the company's server, and it is difficult to completely own the data; for another example, digital heritage involves many third-party service providers, and you may not remember it yourself.

  Regarding how he treats this "legacy", Wang Bing thought about it seriously, and said that there is no digital legacy that he wants to preserve. "For me, life is an experience. After experiencing it, it’s ok. But I especially hope that Internet providers can provide A service, set up emergency contacts, or let users choose in advance, if the person is gone, how to deal with all the information".

  China Youth Daily·China Youth Daily reporter Jiang Xiaobin, trainee reporter Li Danping Source: China Youth Daily