Digital Wake Management

Mar 14, 2024
Digital Wake Management
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“CIO Perspectives” is a white paper series by Mark Settle that explores top-of-mind technical issues confronting today’s CIOs and IT leaders. Mark is a seven-time CIO, a three-time CIO 100 award winner, and a two-time book author. His most recent book is Truth from the Valley, A Practical Primer on IT Management for the Next Decade.

Digital Wake Management (DWM) is a concerted effort to discover and delete personal information (PI) scattered across the Internet. It’s an ongoing exercise in digital hygiene designed to eliminate information that no longer serves a useful purpose or is inaccurate, whether such information was knowingly shared or created by third parties without an individual’s consent.

Piecemeal solutions to this management challenge are currently available. A variety of vendors offer consumer services for password management, identity theft protection and cookie management. Businesses possess more sophisticated systems for managing an individual’s digital rights and evaluating their social media profiles. However, none of these solutions addresses the full extent of an individual’s wake nor do they provide an easy means of eradicating all gratuitous PI scattered across the web.

The DWM solutions envisioned in this white paper are fundamentally different from existing PI management tools. They are designed to:

  • Establish a comprehensive overview of an individual’s entire digital wake.
  • Provide individuals with the capabilities that businesses already possess to manage website consent agreements, administer digital rights requests and obtain insight into their online social profiles.
  • Leverage GenAI technology to reduce the technical jargon that keeps most individuals from truly understanding the dimensions of their wake and managing its persistence.
  • Empower individuals with automated workflows for curbing wake sprawl and remediating wake risks.
  • Enable individuals to prioritize their use of DWM services in ways that reflect their personal concerns and produce the greatest benefit with the least expenditure of their personal time.

The investment case for a new category of personal DWM services has never been stronger.

  • Public concern regarding PI misuse increases with every data breach, personal phishing attack and fraudulent scam. Online privacy regulations have received bipartisan support in more than a dozen U.S. states to date, a reflection of this growing concern.
  • Tens of millions of U.S. consumers are already subscribing to one or more existing PI management tools, indicating that consumers are willing to pay for wake protection.
  • The technical boundaries between existing tools are eroding, reflecting consumer demand for more comprehensive solutions.
  • And finally, GenAI technology represents a unique inflection point in the evolution of PI management that can give individuals the ability to take control of their digital wakes in ways that have not been possible in the past.