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This article was published on February 23, 2013

Deadman: A secret keeper, whistleblower, babysitter and blackmailer

Deadman: A secret keeper, whistleblower, babysitter and blackmailer
Ken Yeung
Story by

Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.

Technology can produce some really fascinating and interesting things. One of these that stands out today is Deadman, a service that basically operates as a dead man’s switch.

The service sends you messages on the channels that you choose and, if you can’t respond for whatever reason, if there’s something important that needs to be sent out when you’re unavailable, Deadman can take care of it. Think of it as an insurance policy.

How it works is that customers can upload any file that they want, whether it’s a video, audio, photo, document, or anything else to the Deadman server for safe keeping. The service says it will support large gigabyte files. From there, recipients must be selected so that Deadman knows who to send the files to when the customer is incapacitated. It supports anywhere from 1 to 1,000 and each recipient can be customized so that Deadman send the information via email, text message, or an automated phone call.

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After you’ve created a switch, Deadman will periodically contact you, which means that if you have multiple switches, it does not consolidate it into a single communication. If you do not reply back within a certain time limit (it can be set to days or weeks), the switch will activate.

Should it activate, the recipients will receive either a link to a web address or an attachment, obviously depending on the method of delivery. Switches can also be disabled to prevent it from sending any notifications out and from activating.

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Yes, we know what you’re thinking: this type of service is usually reserved for the villans in the movies blackmailing people, right? Well that is one way of thinking about it. But it’s a bit more than that. The service lists possible uses such as if you happen to be out in the wilderness camping or hiking, Deadman can notify someone in case you’ve “gone astray”. Additionally, it’s great for whistleblowers, shut-ins, or if you have dirt (there’s that blackmailing thing again), and for anything else.

Here’s an image of what the email communication from Deadman looks like:

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While there are services like Legacy Locker designed to pass along information about their online presence, Deadman is a bit different — it’s about notification and bringing the news to those that you think would care if you became incapacitated for whatever reason, including death or loss of consciousness.

The service was named the winner of the LSRC Hackathon last summer and utilizes Twilio, Sendgrid, and APIs. It was created by Jesse Lovelace and built in 15 hours.

Deadman is currently free to use and accepts Google, Facebook, and Twitter authentication to login, or, if you prefer, you can use the traditional email and password combination.

Photo credit: THIERRY ZOCCOLAN/AFP/Getty Images

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