Cyber Funerals
© Andrea Donetti /EyeEm/WIRED
Your online data is a bit like single-use plastic: there's tonnes of the stuff and it's very hard to get rid of. When you die, your physical body will slowly decay, or be sent to a crematorium or dissolved in a tank filled with potassium hydroxide. But that pesky digital corpse? That's going to be around for a while, like a data soul stuck in online purgatory, never to receive salvation. Unless, of course, you set it free.

All you need to do is organise a cyber funeral. Thanks to recent changes to privacy legislation in Europe and South Korea aimed at protecting the living, we now have more power than ever over our personal information - even from beyond the grave. While this may have felt like a gimmick in the past, cyber funerals - where our personal data is removed from the web posthumously - are slowly becoming a viable option.

But why might you want to book yourself in for an appointment with an online undertaker? While friends, family - or even a legal team - might tidy up someone's offline affairs, a digital legacy is still left to chance. An online funeral can help expunge articles or blogposts that mention spent convictions or ensure social media accounts and other online ephemera are locked down and left in good order. Simply put, when you die in the real world, it's only right and proper that you also die on Facebook. And Instagram. And Google.

Digital undertaking is the act of erasing and tidying up your public data after you die. It's a relatively new idea, but one that's already taking off in South Korea, according to the Korean Employment Information Service. Think of it as a ghoulish version of the European Union's right to be forgotten legislation.

For most digital undertakers, the tricky task is to contact the social media companies, search engines or even media companies who publish personal information, and request for it to be deleted when their client dies. If that doesn't work, then companies - be they in South Korea, the USA or UK - can bury search engine results by flooding Google with new, conflicting data about the deceased.

Read the rest of the article at Wired, UK.