What is a Digital Executor?

In today’s technological society, everyone has access to the internet, and everyone has at least one device to access that data. From the year 2000 to 2022, internet usage has increased 1,355%.[1] As of 30 June 2022, 69% of the world population accesses the internet; that is 5.5 billion out of the 8 billion.[2] All of these people have a digital footprint. A “digital footprint” is “a unique data trace of a user’s activities, actions, communications, or transactions in digital media. This data trace can be left on the internet, computers, mobile devices, or other mediums.”[3] Once someone passes away, their digital footprint does not, and will not, unless adequately acquired, analyzed, and fully sanitized. That is what a digital executor does, for the individual, or their next of kin / representative.

A digital executor according to the website freewill.com, is a “person you name in your will to manage your digital property after you pass.” This is someone that will focus “on your digital media and accounts” and “find, manage, and distribute this digital property to your heirs, depending on what you request”[4] So what do you mean digital media? We mean anything from files, folders, photos, video, email, virtual currencies, blogs, and websites, etc. Anything that would constitute as a digital asset.

At OakThorn, we maintain the highest ethical standards, along with an unbiased approach to data acquisition, analysis, and reporting. We believe in upholding the client’s past reputation, and not impede on their future standing. Our job is to methodically get the data that the next of kin, or representative needs or wants, without the exposure to various unacceptable assets that need to be destroyed or sent to authorities for proper disposal and investigations. The digital footprint of the deceased needs to be looked after, like any other asset.

So, what does a digital executor do? Specially trained in digital forensics methodology, and cyber intelligence gathering, executors gather the information on the deceased, or the client (if acquiring services before passing) and manage, analyze, and collaborate all the digital files into a storage medium (hard drive, thumb drive, etc.), report on the findings, and work with the client / next of kin to view, and interpret the findings.

Even if the files were deleted, the digital executor has the means and the ability to recover that data. Along with means to quickly target, and search for the right files of importance (i.e., financials, currencies, documentation, passwords.) These professionals can also close accounts for the deceased, wipe hard drives by standards, and inform friends online of their passing.

If one looks around, they will definitely see that they have a digital device somewhere in their house, car, boat, etc. Wouldn’t it be in the best interest to find someone that will assist with making sure their loved ones, or executor gather that documentation, passwords, financials if they pass? OakThorn is here to do just that.

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us at contact@oakthorn.io.

[1] Broadband Search; Broadband Search.net; Key Internet Statistics to Know in 2022 (Including Mobile); Accessed on 5 September 2022 at https://www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/internet-statistics. [2] Miniwatts Marketing Group; World Internet Usage and Population Statistics; Created 30 June 2022; Accessed on 5 September 2022 at https://internetworldstats.com/stats.htm. [3] Techopedia Inc.; Techopedia; Digital Footprint; Accessed on 5 September 2022 at https://www.techopedia.com/definition/2396/digital-footprint. [4] FreeWill Co.; FreeWill; What is a digital will executor?; Updated on 4 January 2021, Accessed on 5 September 2022 at https://www.freewill.com/learn/what-is-a-digital-executor.

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