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Google’s Inactive Account Cleanup: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Data Safe

In a significant move to enhance user security, Google is set to delete millions of inactive accounts, including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar, YouTube, and Google Photos, starting from December 1, 2023. This proactive measure aims to minimize the risks associated with maintaining unused accounts and protect users from potential security threats.

Google’s updated inactive account policy, announced earlier this year, represents a departure from its previous stance in 2020, where it intended to remove content from inactive accounts without deleting the accounts themselves. Under the new policy, any account that hasn’t been used or signed into for at least two years will be subject to deletion, and all content within these inactive accounts will be permanently erased.

The rationale behind this move lies in Google’s commitment to user security. According to the company, inactive accounts pose a higher risk of compromise due to their lack of regular use or monitoring. Users are more likely to have old or reused passwords associated with inactive accounts, making them vulnerable to hacking attempts.

Google’s internal analysis reveals that inactive accounts are 10 times less likely than active accounts to have two-factor authentication enabled. This lack of additional security measures makes these dormant accounts easier targets for cybercriminals. The accounts, often relying on outdated or compromised passwords, may become tools for identity theft and other malicious activities.

To protect your Google Account from deletion, it’s essential to note that this new policy applies only to personal Google Accounts, not those associated with organizations such as schools or businesses. Active users of Gmail, Docs, Calendar, and Photos need not worry, as the policy specifically targets inactive accounts.

Before initiating the deletion process, Google will send multiple notifications to the account’s email address and recovery email (if provided) over several months. This demonstrates Google’s commitment to giving users ample time to take action and underscores the company’s dedication to safeguarding user privacy and security.

For users concerned about potential account deletion, there are steps to keep an account active. Reactivating an inactive Google Account can be done by simply logging in or following the instructions in the email sent by Google. Google has also provided a list of specific activities that count as account usage, such as reading or sending an email, using Google Drive, watching a YouTube video, downloading an app from the Google Play Store, conducting searches on Google, or using ‘Sign in with Google’ for third-party apps or services.

It’s worth noting that Google will consider active subscriptions linked to a Google Account, such as Google One, news publications, or apps, as account activity. This inclusion prevents such accounts from falling under the deletion policy, offering users an additional layer of security for their valuable data.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

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