Google becomes the first major company to allow users to decide what happens to their data after they die or become inactive online.
Google will allow users to decide what happens to their data after they die or become inactive online, the first major company to deal with the sensitive issue.
The feature applies to email, social network Google Plus and other accounts.
Users can choose to delete data after a set period of time, or pass it on to specific people.
Internet users around the world have expressed concern about what happens to their data after their demise.
"We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife - in a way that protects your privacy and security - and make life easier for your loved ones after you're gone," Google said in a blogpost.
California-based Google also owns YouTube, photo-sharing service Picasa and Blogger.
Google said users can opt to have their data deleted after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity. Alternatively, certain contacts can be sent data from some or all of their services.
However, the company said it would text a provided number or email a secondary email address to warn users before any action is taken.
People are increasingly placing content on social networks and data storage facilities hosted in cyberspace, or the "cloud".
Other companies have also attempted to tackle the questions that raises after a person's death. Facebook, as an example, allows users to "memorialise" an account.
British physicist Stephen Hawking visited a stem cell lab in Los Angeles, Calif. where he spoke to an audience comprised of employees at Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute, ALS patients and their families.
While we all put our focus on how much ethics is there in emerging technologies, we are increasing our distance from the issues that require immediate attention. I welcome the study of ethical issues in emerging technologies, however, I welcome it with a reason. How best to explain this reason is difficult. But it can best be said that if a guy is suffering from severe pain, then why should we not use controversial and radical technology to save his life ? The answer to this question is not so simple if you ask me. In fact, no answer exists as of now no matter how many theories about society are thrown our way.
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