Karen Blixens Plads 8, 2300 København S
Death in the realm of the digital is not automatically dealt with. When a user dies in a digital space, e.g. on social media, commercial service providers depend on other users to report on the death. This is in contrast to the physical death where events are triggered automatically; Death is reported by a doctor, central bodies are notified, the management of the physical estate is initiated, and a funeral service is performed. Even when death is verified in relation to the online world, service providers do not always offer a postmortem data agreement stating the destiny and lifetime of the information relating to the deceased. Thus, it is rather unclear how postmortem information is dealt with in practice, and what human as well as non-human factors inform this data practice. Is the information deleted, transferred, saved or archived? Who has access to the data, for how long and what are the central elements in determining the postmortem data’s destiny?
My PhD project explores on the one hand 1) how postmortem information is dealt with in practice across different sectors in Denmark and on the other 2) how post-mortem data is conceptualized and produced in the scholarly community. What seems to be the discursive, theory-based nature of post-mortem data, how is it described in terms of characteristics, properties and attributes, and how is it different or similar to other concepts such as e.g. digital inheritance, postmortem digital legacy, digital remains, or posthumous digital representations?