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9/5/10
Original Poster
ogle

Privacy policy: keeping copies of deleted messages and accounts in gmail's offline backup systems

Having read the section titled "Your Choices" in the privacy policy page for gmail (http://mail.google.com/mail/help/intl/en/privacy.html), I am wondering about something.


Your choices

  • You may organize or delete your messages through your Gmail account or terminate your account through the Google Account section of Gmail settings. Such deletions or terminations will take immediate effect in your account view. Residual copies of deleted messages and accounts may take up to 60 days to be deleted from our active servers and may remain in our offline backup systems.

Can someone explain to me what the bolded and italicized text means? Or if Google staff visits this page, please, for the sake of all of us who love gmail but have concerns about privacy, please enlighten us.


What does "may" mean? If it means "possibly", then tell us, what does this depend on?

What are your "offline backup systems"?
When you say "remain", do you mean forever?
Why would the emails (or accounts) we choose to have deleted or terminated still remain in your systems?
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9/10/10
Expert - Google Employee
Michelle
Thanks for your question. To explain how this works in more detail, if a user chooses to delete an email, it will go into Trash, but it may take up to 60 days before it’s deleted from our active servers entirely. Because this is complicated computer infrastructure, deletion is not instantaneous. Google may also keep backup copies of users' emails in case a system failure or error occurs. Backups are overwritten regularly. This is standard practice in the email industry for providing reliable service.
9/10/10
Original Poster
ogle
When you say "Backups are overwritten regularly", does that mean that the backups are deleted, and that our emails won't last forever on Gmail's system?
lk-intact
11/30/10
lk-intact
and for how long does google keep data in its "backup systems" before those backups are overwritten?
 
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