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

Abstract

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
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2019

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Analog to digital conversion
ontology
Ontology
assets
death
digitization
service provider
privacy
property rights
right of ownership
methodology
human being
Big data
policy
services
rights
Assets
Values

Cite this

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The ontology of digital asset after death : policy complexities, suggestions and critique of digital platforms. / Park, Yong Jin; Sang, Yoonmo; Lee, Hoon; Jones-Jang, S. Mo.

In: Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, Vol. 22, No. 1, 06.12.2019, p. 1-14.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - 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.

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