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Google is going to delete your data forever, if you haven’t logged into your account for two years

Google has announced a new policy on dealing with inactive accounts, which is important for anyone who doesn’t regularly login. Google argues that overlooked accounts often don’t have two-factor authentication enabled, or use old or reused passwords that may have been compromised by cybercriminals. Abandoned accounts are “at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up.”

The concern is that if an account isn’t sufficiently secured then it might be used to send spam, commit identity theft, or spread malicious content. Although the policy takes effect from now, the very earliest it will begin to delete accounts is December 2023, and even then it will begin with accounts that were created and never used again.

Google says that in the months running-up to deleting an account, it will send multiple notifications to the email address (and recovery address, if one exists) warning that the account’s days are numbered unless action is taken. The simplest method to convince Google that your account is still active is to log in to your account at least once every two years. Alternatively, if you perform any of the following actions while logged in to the account, Google will consider you “active.”

There are concerns that Google’s way of measuring if a Google account is active or not may not be accurate. For instance, if you set up a Google Mail account with the sole purpose of using it to forward to a different email address, you may never log in to that Gmail account. If you don’t use the account for Google Calendar, to watch videos, or anything else, Google may consider the account inactive and may line it up for deletion at some future point.

It is essential to consider now what Google accounts you use now, and might have created in the past. Log into them, ensure that they are protected with strong unique passwords, set a recovery email address if you haven’t already done so, and enable two-step authentication.

Key Points:

– Google has a new policy on dealing with inactive accounts, and it’s important for anyone who doesn’t regularly log in.
– Abandoned accounts are less likely to have 2-step verification set up, making them a target for cybercriminals.
– Google will send multiple notifications before deleting an account and will only begin to delete accounts created and never used again from December 2023.
– To avoid having your account deleted, log in at least once every two years or use any of the following actions: read or send an email, use Google Drive, watch a YouTube video, download an app on the Google Play Store, use Google Search, or use Sign in with Google.
– It’s essential to consider all Google accounts you use now and might have created in the past and ensure they are protected with strong unique passwords, a recovery email address, and two-step authentication.

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