Monday, March 16, 2009

Life Imitates Art, and It's More Than A Little Creepy (with CONTEST!)

You know how, in some thrillers, a character will entrust the Big Secret to a trusted friend, to be sent out if the character disappears? Well, meet Death Switch, a service which sends out emails upon your unfortunate demise. Like so many things on the 'net, there's a free and a pay version:

The basic service is free and includes a single email. The pay service, $20 a year, allows you to compose up to 30 emails with 10 recipients each. Only the pay service allows you to include attachments. Death Switch determines when to send out the messages by sending out messages to you on a regular basis. If you fail to respond to enough of those messages in a row, the emails are mailed out..

Consider the possibilities....and post them here. Best one wins an autographed copy of BREAKING COVER.


Fran said...

I just read about that. It's designed to give your loved ones your passwords and account numbers and things, so they don't have to guess.

But the possiblities for crime are rampant, aren't they?

Consider this:

Money vanishes from a major corporation, perhaps one that has received a fair amount of government funding. A low-level employee disappears right before the theft is discovered.

Soon after, a rash of emails goes out to various people, seemingly unconnected. Each one is phrased in such a way that the person receiving the email knows that either something bad has happened (or will happen) to someone they know, or they receive a warning that they are being investigated for some indiscretion and must take certain steps to avoid being caught.

Chaos ensues, but all the evidence does seem to point to the missing employee, at least to whoever is our hero.

Right up until the missing person turns up dead. . .

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

Sorry to inform you, I'm dead.
You won't be getting that blurb.

I'm proud to announce the experiment with astral projection worked, unfortunately it can't be reversed.

Sorry to say I can't respond to your email, I'm dead.

Janet Reid said...

Sorry to inform you I'm dead.

Apparently it IS entirely possible to die laughing.
Who knew!

Anonymous said...

well, thank you just gave me an idea how to get out of a pickle...I had no idea about this site.

People disapear under the radar all the time...some will even *set up their own deaths*....well, this could cover both areas.

Let's say a charactor found out some sensitve information on a project they were working on an author that got too, too curious in their research??? *grin* anyhow, they realize the exact nature of said information....and they have some idea of the scope of who this would touch...authorities, media, general public.
The charactor understands that he/she is basically "dead anyway" and several others have died/gotten killed for the knowing.It isn't enough to just disappear....they need to bring it to light or bring it down , shine some light on the situation.
And without any more people getting hurt....namely themselves or their loved ones.....this is a safety net.
So far no-one knows the MC is involved in any way....
the MC takes care of things the best way they know how....they *die*...yes, their family and friends are sad...but it's closure.
Then ....the MC can *go after* the bad holds barred...because,after all,it takes one SOB to take down another and hopefully yours is colder...there's angst involved because when you set a course like this 1) if you have any kind of feeling for the people you leave behind you can really screw up...2) you get that damn cold , and there's a real danger in becoming the very thing you are trying to stop. The rules are...there are no damn rules.

Gary Corby said...

I designed and built an almost identical system to this, except mine could also reach people inside Second Life and World of Warcraft. I was on the verge of putting it into production when writing suddenly became a much higher priority due to a certain literary agent who's commented before me.

The Death Switch people don't seem to have covered what happens if someone breaks into their system and steals all the pre-positioned emails.

Imagine the secrets Death Switch must have stored away. What would happen if someone got them all? All sorts of high ranking people with secret lovers and secret bank accounts. Deathbed confessions that emerge way too soon.

In case you're wondering, I covered off that threat by encrypting all the messages in my version of the system, sending the encrypted text to the future recipients, and keeping only the keys secret. The recipients can't read the message (yet) because they don't have the key. I couldn't accidentally lose messages to a hacker because although I had the key, I didn't store the messages.