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LES ECHOS

How The Internet Plans To Cash In On You After You Die

The fate of our personal data after death has become both a legal and economic issue. Online businesses such as Facebook and Google want to be able to monetize even dead users, while some families who want to erase accounts may find it problematic.

Try
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Jacques Henno

PARIS — There are 580,000 funerals every year in France, and every year 23 million chrysanthemums are laid on graves to mark All Saints Day. In other words, the mourning industry is huge, generating between 2 billion and 5 billion euros a year. The market has led to the creation of many startups. For example, it's now possible to follow a burial via video conference and to scatter ashes in the upper stratosphere. For these companies, death may represent a business opportunity, but for other web-based concerns, it's an economic, legal and societal conundrum: What should we do with the digital data of dead people?

After all, keeping all of it has a cost. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 0.8% of the population dies every year. If we apply that percentage to Facebook"s 1.49 billion accounts, that's 11 million users who die every year. Their data continues to be stored, but without generating any more advertising revenue.

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Society

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

"Don't abort my right" At 2019 pro-choice march In Toulouse, France.

Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via ZUMA
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

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