The ontology of digital asset after death

policy complexities, suggestions and critique of digital platforms

Yong Jin Park, Yoonmo Sang, Hoon Lee, S. Mo Jones-Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: The digitization of the life has brought complexities associated with addressing digital life after one’s death. This paper aims to investigate the two related issues of the privacy and property of postlife digital assets. Design/methodology/approach: The understanding of digital assets has not been fully unpacked largely due to the current policy complexities in accessing and obtaining digital assets at death. This paper calls critical attention to the importance of respecting user rights in digital environments that currently favor service providers’ interests. Findings: It is argued that there are ethical blind spots when protecting users’ rights, given no ontological difference between a person’s digital beings and physical existence. These derive from the restrictive corporate terms and ambiguous conditions drafted by digital service providers. Originality/value: Fundamentally, the transition to the big data era, in which the collection, use and dissemination of digital activities became integral part of the ontology, poses new challenges to privacy and property rights after death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalDigital Policy, Regulation and Governance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2019


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