Giving access to data

Emergency contacts

A dialog box asking if you if you want to give someone access to your account in an emergency.


People nominate trusted individuals (like a family member or friend) to access data on their behalf if there’s an emergency. This pattern can also be used to restore access if someone can’t login to their account. For example, in the event of an accident, the trusted individual can take control of the persons’ account.

IF thinks this pattern shows care for people as it helps them get access to services when they need them the most. Emergency access should have a delay so that someone can revoke access if it’s a mistake. It should also be time-limited and any actions that the emergency contact does on someones’ behalf should be recorded for them to review later.


  • Allows people to access information in a crisis, without requiring them to go through the usual identity and security checks
  • A delay can be used to give people time to stop an emergency access if it is triggered by mistake


  • Requires having someone you can trust who is available to help
  • Requires advance planning to set up