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Starting in December, Google will begin deleting accounts that have been inactive for several years.
The announcement took place last May: Google will delete personal accounts that have been inactive – that is to say on which there has been no activity or to which their owner has not logged in – for two years. Deleting the account will also delete its content in Google Workspace (Drive, Gmail, Docs, Meet, Calendar, etc.), YouTube and Google Photos.
Regulations and personal data
This removal campaign only targets personal Google accounts. Which means that Google Business or Education accounts are not affected.
This new policy on inactive accounts is part of Google’s desire to respect evolving data retention standards. Its objective is to limit the length of time the company keeps your personal data without you using it.
In recent years, legislation concerning personal data has evolved towards more rigor in terms of data security and privacy protection, leading many companies to revise their policies in this area. In the European Union in particular, the General Data Protection Regulation, known as GDPR, fulfills this function. And, although it does not indicate a specific length of time for retaining personal data, it recommends that companies determine it best for their customers.
Beyond the evolution of regulations, Google also stressed that this new policy helped to strengthen the security of its users’ accounts against spam, scams and misappropriation. This is because an unused account is more likely to be compromised – especially since it is often not protected by two-step verification.
“Forgotten or unmonitored accounts often rely on old or reused passwords, which may have been compromised, and are generally not protected by two-factor authentication,” Google explains in its press release. “Our internal analysis shows that abandoned accounts are at least 10 times less likely than active accounts to benefit from two-step verification,” Google indicated on this subject last May. “This means that these accounts are often vulnerable. And, once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to sending unwanted or malicious content like spam. »
Google is expected to begin deleting inactive accounts next week, but don’t panic: the company clarified that it will take a gradual approach, focusing first on accounts that were never reused after their creation. In addition, Google will notify owners of inactive accounts before their deletion, by means of an alert sent to their recovery email address.
To avoid deletion, keep your account active
To ensure that your Google account is not deleted, it is best to log in to it at least once every two years.
Reading or sending an email, using Google Drive, watching a YouTube video, downloading an app from Google Play, using the Google search engine, or signing in with your Google account on another third-party app or service are also signs of activity, as well as subscribing to an application, service or publication through your account.