Internet Deadman’s Switch Part 1

April 24, 2008

by — Posted in Family and Friends, Technology

One thing I’ve been working on for awhile is and Internet Deadman’s Switch.  With all of my crossposting and media re-usage activities in the grand scheme this should be fairly trivial.   I am sure however that some things will slip me up.   We’ll start in this section of identifying the goals I wish to acomplish and work through some of the stages in part two.

What do I mean by Deadman’s Switch?

A deadman’s switch is something that is triggered normally to keep you alive.   A quick example is the pressure plate on a riding lawn mower.   The pressure plate must have weight on it or the lawn more will not start and if the weight is removed the lawn mower will shut off.  So essentially one action cause another action to occur when certain variables are met.   My trigger would be my death.  If I didn’t verify if I was alive after a certain period of time to a program/website/etc.  the a serious of scripts and actions would trigger leaving behind all the information I wish to impart on those behind me.

Why do I want a Deadman’s Switch?

This idea started in my head about 7-8 years.   There used to be a website that had you check in once a month and if you didn’t log in it will send off emails to the ones you care about (or the ones you don’t).   This gives you the final word and allows you to send of those things that might be important.   I can leave my wife information about all my accounts and password, any relevant information that she may need and won’t be able to gather up, parting words to friends and families.   I would also thanks to my current setup be able to post to all my social networks and make an announcement of my death.   This I find intriguing and I’ll at least go through all the steps of implementing this (whether I actually use it and maintain it will remain to be seen).

What would I send?

I’ve broken down what I would want to send into four sections:

  • My wife – I can deliver my final message, copies of important documents, access to all of my accounts and any other relevant information she needs
  • My family – I would send each family member a personal message from the beyond – I also would send them a follow up to do with my wife in case something happened to her at the same time, that way there would still be someone i could trust that would have access to the information they may need to clean up my estate.
  • Friends – I would send each of my “high level” friends an individual message – if somehow my whole family is taken out in one full attack – I don’t think I’m passing any of my personal information off to them.
  • Public Internet at Large – this is broken into a few more sections, but essentially I’ll be leaving a video, audio postings, status updates to my social networks (“I’m dead thanks for all the fish”)), and a few final blog postings.

The trick to all of this is of course is reliant on a few things.   The first and foremost being that I can send email after I’m dead.   It also can not be reliant on my home PC (if a housefire hits or a tornado takes me out I don’t want my home to be the weakest link).   Finally whatever script I use must be able to pull from an FTP site (for the audio and video).    Once those can be accompished I’m fairly sure I can get everything else done.

When would I send it?

This is the other conundrum isn’t it?  How do you net tell everyone you have passed on while you are still alive (that could be embarrassing).    You need to pick a time period that seems suitable to you (every 12 hours is not suitable).  I’m thinking either every two weeks or every month I would have to login and verify that yes I am still alive and kicking.  The only problem this would really cause is if I’m kidnapped or held hostage.   The chances of those being so minimal that it is unlikely so I won’t really take those into account.   So to be safe I’ll set it for somewhere between 14 and 31 days.

Another thing I would like to do is configure it to be staggered.  That way I’ll be able to send a message to my wife warning her about the upcoming announcement of what is going to occur before it actually does.  Then to family, then to friends, and finally to the Internet as a whole.   This would keep it from being one big whirlwind hitting everyone at once like a ton of bricks.   I don’t want someone completely freaked out when they see a new youtube movie of my me uploaded.    So a staggered release would be the best scenario (if it’s possible).

How am I going to do this?

You’ll just have to wait for part 2.

4 thoughts on “Internet Deadman’s Switch Part 1

  1. I agree this is an interesting idea, have thought it a number of times. Always wondered if it means that I am ego-maniacal if I have to control my death :)

  2. I agree this is an interesting idea, have thought it a number of times. Always wondered if it means that I am ego-maniacal if I have to control my death :)

  3. I think I am ego maniacal in that regards – but I also think it’s very Hari Seldon-esque in my little tribute to Asimov’s Foundation Series

  4. I think I am ego maniacal in that regards – but I also think it's very Hari Seldon-esque in my little tribute to Asimov's Foundation Series

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