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Austin cancels SXSW conference citing coronavirus fears

The City of Austin, Texas, has declared a local state of disaster and imposed guidelines that led to the cancelation of the South by Southwest conference and festival held annually in the city, citing concern over the spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19.

What are the details?

“We have declared a local disaster and associated with that have issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest for this year,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced Friday.

The city explained in a press release that the decision was made “in response to increasing concerns of COVID-19 across the nation,” citing a number of factors including crowd density and “a significant number of travelers from areas currently experiencing person-to-person spread of COVID-19 domestically and internationally.”

South by Southwest was set to run from March 13-22. It draws in presenters, performers, and attendees from all over the globe.

SXSW organizers issued a subsequent statement saying they would “faithfully follow the City’s directions.”

“We are devastated to share this news with you,” the organizers wrote. “‘The show must go on’ is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.”

CNN reported that “several of the conference’s biggest names had already pulled out in the days leading up to the cancellation,” including Twitter, Facebook and Intel.

Anything else?

SXSW brings thousands of people to Austin each year and serves as a huge boost to local businesses. NBC News technology correspondent Jacob Ward reported that this year’s cancelation “represents about $350 million in lost revenue for the city of Austin.” He added, “this is an enormous act of civic responsibility.”

Conference digital death day Intelwars internet identity workshop Policies Research

May 6 is Digital Death Day

dddgirlAre you interested in the conversation around digital death? Do you want to learn more about family access to accounts after a death, legal issues like terms of service and digital property rights, or archival and curation of data? What about the individual’s right to delete data and declare themselves digitally dead?

Now’s your chance to get involved.

Digital Death Day North America will see 75 – 125 attorneys, entrepreneurs, researchers, archivists and leading minds gather to discuss the issues shaping this emerging space. Add your voice to the group and share your ideas on how the future could be, and your perspective on what’s important.

From the organizers:

Digital Death Day is a collaborative unconference where attendees will work together to explore how we should deal with our online profiles after death. This is the 3rd Digital Death Day and the 2nd such event in North America. The event immediately follows the 12th Internet Identity Workshop planned for May 3-5 at the same location.

The unconference format allows for an agile event, where everyone is welcome to contribute. Beginning at 9:00 AM we start with a blank wall and though an hour-long, interactive process, create a full day, multi-track conference agenda that is relevant and inspiring to everyone in attendance. Digital Death Day will be facilitated by Kaliya Hamlin who has designed and facilitated over 100 unconferences for professional and technical communities.

  • How can I decide what should be done with my social network profiles and other digital assets?
  • How can I inform my online friends of my death and share with them my final messages?
  • How can I be sure that big companies (like Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft) will respect my wishes?
  • Does the past have value? Should we make an effort to preserve it?
  • Is it too old school to die and be dead?
  • How will the wealth of preserved information change the way that future generations look back at us?
  • How are you preparing for your own death?
  • What services are available?
  • What are the policies for e-mail accounts and social websites when you die?
  • What about digital assets that are jointly held?
  • What happens to the references to other people in the deceased person’s digital assets?
  • What happens to the digital assets with references to the deceased person?

If you are an entrepreneur, Internet service professional, attorney, estate planner, researcher, technologist, archivist, policy maker, funeral director, a member of the media, or planning your digital will, your perspective and participation is needed an valuable.


Digital Death Day North America
May 6, 2011  9 AM TO 5 PM
Computer History Museum
1401 N Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA 94043

12th Internet Identity Workshop
May 3 – 5, 2011