Google Drive files without active owners soon to appear as “To Be Deleted”
Case Western Reserve University’s University Technology ([U]Tech) department has announced that it will begin removing files owned by individuals with suspended CWRU Google Workspace accounts or Shared Drives that are scheduled for deletion. As part of the ongoing efforts to meet Google’s file storage caps, files belonging to individuals who have left the university, including alumni, will be suspended and then deleted after 180 days. This means that all their files, including Shared Drives managed by them, will also be permanently deleted.
Managing File Deletion
Starting from September 12, 2023, [U]Tech will label files in Google Workspace that are scheduled for deletion as “To Be Deleted.” However, it may take a few days for the label to appear on affected files. On February 1, 2024, the Google accounts of anyone who has been unaffiliated with the university for more than six months will be deleted, resulting in the permanent deletion of all the files owned by those accounts. Additionally, on the same date, all Shared Drives that have not had an active CWRU manager for more than one year will be deleted.
After February 1, 2024, any Google Workspace account that has been suspended for 180 days and any Shared Drives without an active CWRU manager for more than one year will be automatically deleted.
Ensuring Access to Necessary Files
To ensure continued access to necessary files, all faculty, staff, and students are advised to review the files that are scheduled for deletion. [U]Tech has provided guidelines on how to find and safeguard these files on the Google Files Shared By Suspended Users webpage.
For any assistance with technology-related products or services at Case Western Reserve University, individuals can reach out to the University Technology Service Desk at email@example.com, call 216.368.HELP (4357), or visit help.case.edu.
Editorial: Data Ownership and Digital Legacy
This announcement from Case Western Reserve University brings to light the complex issue of data ownership and the importance of digital legacy management. In today’s increasingly digital world, where we store a significant portion of our lives on cloud platforms like Google Drive, it is crucial to understand the implications of data ownership and our responsibilities in managing our digital legacies.
Universities, like many organizations, have limited storage capacities and must establish policies to ensure that their systems are efficient and accessible for current users. Deleting files of former students and alumni who are no longer affiliated with the university is a logical step in managing limited resources. However, this decision also prompts us to reflect on our own data ownership and consider the steps we can take to preserve our digital footprints for future generations.
Philosophical Discussion: The Fragility of Digital Legacy
The impermanence of digital files raises questions about the long-term accessibility of our digital legacies. Unlike physical heirlooms or written records, which can be preserved for centuries, our digital assets are often subject to deletion or obsolescence. As technology evolves and platforms change, there is a risk of losing access to important memories, documents, and personal histories that exist solely in the digital realm.
This fragility prompts us to contemplate the nature of permanence in our increasingly digital lives. How can we ensure that our digital legacies outlive us? What responsibility do we have to future generations in preserving our digital footprints? These questions highlight the need for individuals and organizations to actively plan for the preservation of digital assets, both in terms of storage and accessibility.
Advice: Managing Your Digital Legacy
To navigate the challenges of digital legacies, here are a few practical steps individuals can take:
- Regularly back up files: Maintain duplicate copies of important files and documents on multiple storage platforms or physical drives. This redundancy can help safeguard against accidental deletions or platform limitations.
- Organize and label files: Implement a consistent filing system and document naming conventions to make it easier for future generations to navigate and understand your digital legacy.
- Create a digital will: Just as we plan for the distribution of physical assets in a traditional will, consider creating a digital will that outlines your wishes for the management and accessibility of your digital files after your passing.
- Communicate your intentions: Inform trusted family members, friends, or institutions about your digital legacy plans so that they are aware of your preferences and can act accordingly in your absence.
- Stay informed about platform policies: Be aware of the policies and terms of service of the cloud platforms and digital services you use. Understanding how data ownership and deletion processes work can help you make informed decisions about where to store your files.
In conclusion, the announcement by Case Western Reserve University regarding the deletion of Google Drive files of former students and alumni emphasizes the importance of digital legacy management. It serves as a reminder for individuals to actively consider the preservation of their digital footprints and take steps to secure and share their digital assets for future generations.
<< photo by Giovanni Garnica >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.