What happens when Google cuts access to your account

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/11/02/what-happens-when-google-cuts-access-to-your-account.html


For a culture so steeped in “Libertarian” rhetoric, Silicon Valley is working awfully hard to make Brazil a reality.



FFS people, we’ve been warning you for decades that when you put your data in someone else’s servers, it’s no longer your data.

The inevitable outcome shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.


I have always been paranoid about google. I just can’t shake that risk, and my wife and I back up everything ourselves because we don’t trust google.

I might still be bitter because 1. They dumped reader, and 2. I had a thriving RPG on wave, and it was gone in an instant.


Also, the old saying rings true - don’t put all your eggs in one basket. There are other providers for browsers, email, and apps. It might take a bit more work to split things up, but at least if one company messes up it doesn’t take everything down. A developer should know better than that.


Not to defend the GOOG but I wonder what it takes to become unpersoned by it? Agree on all the other comments, re: not giving it all away without other plans. If we could break the grip of the telcos we could run our own mail servers (I have done it but hard to do without using GOOG as a relay and no way to set up inbound email with my provider).

I think the real issue is how so much of what we do has come to rely on our various devices: All the various accounts for things like banks, shopping websites, IRS, etc, that want to do everything though email and tie you to that email account, or in some cases, your phone. If you lose access to that email account or phone, you cannot even go back and login to that account because of the 2-factor authentication and/or account recovery is tied to it.

Now days, every person requires an email address, in the same way a postal address used to be required (most businesses, and many government services have switched from postal mail to “paperless” everything). If services like google/yahoo, etc can dump you at a moments notice with no warning or recourse, and remove your access, then they are entirely unfit for the purpose of reliable communication.

What is the alternative? Maybe the postal service should be expanded to provide it? yourname@resident.usps.gov? Or do we need regulations put in place that things like government related communications, official business for things like banks, etc, can only be sent via some sort of officially certified email providers, with strong regulations in place about not allowing them to cut people off from access (and data protection rules) in order to keep that certification? (so corps like Google/Yahoo, etc would need to comply, or nobody would use them)


He’s a developer and didn’t back up his data?


Developers learn that it is a good idea to back up stuff only after they lost a significant amount of data.

Don’t ask me how I know…


There’s also the small matter of proprietary data formats. If you have an image of your google account on hard drive, but can’t use that data without google’s software/cloud, it will still hurt.


Agree. I had a similar experience when I couldn’t reset my forgotten apple account pw because my phone was still logged in to the “find my phone” app, & I couldn’t log it out because I had forgotten the pw. Every rep I spoke to said there was no recourse: reset is done by machine & there’s no override. I ended up deciding that I don’t really need the apple account.


“A fair amount of software licenses get delivered by email, especially audio software which his expensive,” he said. "I have products from over two dozen different companies so it’s probable I’ve lost a fair amount of those.

I print out those emails and keep them in a physical file cabinet.


I don’t really need the app store, do I? :wink:

I rely on steam and gog for my games, and buy a lot of my licenses from the publishers involved.Apple Sandbox policies occasionally get in the way. My ipad still requires an apple account in good standing, though.


when FB decided to lock my account i found out the hard way it’s not just data that you lose access to, it’s all the other services and resources linked to that account too.

for example, when i logged in here there was an option to log in with my FB account (as well as my Google account and a host of others). if i had been using that feature here i would no longer be able to post under this identity. whatever reputation i may have developed, whatever credibility, etc. would be lost.

similarly, on a gaming site, any in-game items i’d accumulated would be lost to me as well.

and as others i think have mentioned, there are some formats that only work with the particular online service you entered the data into, so even if you had some kind of backup, you wouldn’t be able to use it.

backups are absolutely a necessity, but they are also absolutely insufficient to recover from this sort of thing.


From an old incident four years ago:

It turns out the common denominator is that they had all bought Google Pixel phones and shipped them to a phone dealer in New Hampshire who paid them a profit on each phone. There is no sales tax in New Hampshire and the phones are then resold to others.

The problem is that many of them didn’t read the terms that they agreed to when buying the phone from the Google store. Those state “You may only purchase Devices for your personal use. You may not commercially resell any Device, but you may give the Device as a gift.”


Old news to me. The tag says “Price of Free Service”, but we pay for our Google accounts. See below.

My partner:

I never put the coda in: eventually the AZ AG sent a letter to Google, and the account was reinstated and henceforth free.


I’m a fan of that idea. Also of the Post Office being expanded to run the nation’s internet backbone. Also operating as a bank for government based money disbursement (social security, welfare, UI, “stimuli”, etc.).


Currently, I’ve got a Yahoo account (that I’ve had for far longer than I’d care to admit), a gmail account, and my work email.

Gmail is apparently not to be trusted as a long term solution,

Yahoo has been spiraling down the drain for over a decade, who knows how much longer yahoo mail will remain.

Work email is, of course, dependent on continuous employment at that company (not a sure thing in this day and age), and of course is not supposed to be used for “personal” business anyway.

ISP provided emails (for those that still provide one) only last as long as you stick to that ISP, and will be gone if you ever move or are offered an alternative provider in your location (hah!).

What (if any) alternatives are there for a long-term, permanent sort of email you can use continuously for decades to tie to all your various accounts?


Supercilious tech dweeb: “You’re supposed to maintain your own mail server, mounted in a rack in a room you’ve repurposed to be your server room with a secondary air-conditioning system, with a backup server and a plan to mail backup tapes to a drop box in Nova Scotia on a routine basis.”


Well. they do sort of have a start on the banking side of that: