When an online account is left unattended for a significant amount of time, it tends to sit idle on the Internet, collecting metaphorical dust and opening its owner to untold risks. This is because inactive or “stale” user accounts are not protected or maintained, and can lead to a loss of privacy, or worse, loss of certain assets. For this reason, many popular companies, such as Google, Apple, and others have created proprietary inactive account managers (IAM)/digital legacy managers on their platforms, along with other account holder data management features.
But, these programs are not without their downfalls, and we’re going to talk about them. In this article, we’re addressing these inactive account manager options, what they are, and how trusting them could lead to devastating consequences. Then, we’re sharing some real-life alternatives and the best ways to protect digital identity.
What is an Inactive Account Manager?
Put simply, an inactive account manager is a tool that helps you put a plan into place for a specified online account, and all its data, primarily for after the user dies. They only exist on certain platforms and must be set up manually to be recognized. IAM programs are important though, and address a critical question many people haven’t even asked yet: “What will happen to my account after I’m gone?”.
Inactive Account Managers are Not Everything They Seem to Be
While Google’s Inactive Account Manager, Apple’s Digital Legacy Program, and other similar resources are starting an important conversation, they are still in their infancy. These early tools are very basic and cannot be tailored or adjusted to meet specific needs. They also only protect one account on one platform, and still don’t exist everywhere. Even still, the accounts that they do protect could be left at-risk if the user fails to update it, or unwittingly keeps an unwanted person on their account. In reality, full trust in IAM programs could leave a family with dozens, or even hundreds, of unprotected, unlisted accounts after the death of a loved one.