I can’t trust Google anymore
Two years ago, Google offered a free workspace account for personal use. This allowed me to use their GMail services for my own personal domain name e-mail. Since my Android phone was already tied into their services, this seemed like a sensible thing to do to simplify things.
Two days ago, and without any notice, my e-mail suddenly stopped working, as though it was never there. When I went into my Google e-mail app on my phone, the account wasn’t there; only my backup account could be seen. Thinking it to be a problem with the Android app, I decided to use my web browser to visit gmail.com, and was presented with this.
Believing my e-mail to be compromised somehow, my next step was to immediately change my hosting provider for e-mail. Since I originally registered my domain name with a different service provider other than Google, it was easy enough for me to simply update my DNS records and direct my e-mail someplace else. I had continued to pay my previous hosting provider that I was using before switching to Google, so I simply changed the DNS records back and got access to my e-mail address once again. I then downloaded K9 mail from F-Droid to access my e-mail on my phone, because I no longer trusted either the Google Play store nor Google’s own e-mail application.
While I did get access to my e-mail address back, all of the e-mails I had received over the past two years were still on Google’s servers and inaccessible to me. I tried to log into my Google Workspace admin account, but every time I chose my account, I simply got redirected back to the sign-in screen. This seemed to indicate that my administrator account was locked out for some reason. To make sure I wasn’t compromised, I went into Manage your Google account, checked Recent security activity, and check my activity from the last 28 days, and saw nothing unusual. To play it safe, I changed my password.
I checked the “Manage Storage” option, and could see my e-mail was still on Google’s servers, taking up space. So I decided to go to Google Takeout where I am supposed to be able to download any and all of my data, which I could…except for my e-mails. For some reason, I could not download any of my e-mails.
I reached out to Google with their “Feedback” option, and this is what I wrote:
Two years ago, I decided to accept your offer for a free workspace account for my personal use and trusted you to handle my e-mail. Two days ago, without any notification or warning, I found that I could no longer access any of my e-mail, I get the “Your organization’s Google Workspace account has been suspended” message whenever I try, and I cannot even download it from your Google Takeout service, though I can see it’s still there taking up space when I go into “Manage Storage.” I can’t even log into my admin account. I would like to know the reason why, and I expect you to give me back all of my e-mails you seem to have stolen from me. I will not be using any of your services moving forward.
So now I’m just putting this out there, using my freedom of the press to provide warning to others; I do not believe Google as a company can be trusted with my data. Any business that chooses to use Google services for their business are, in my opinion, at risk, because if I was running a business and suddenly lost access to my e-mail, and lost all of those e-mails, that would be a real problem. And while I get the old adage that we get what we pay for, understand that Google has a paid tier for Workspace that I was considering; I was even considering transferring control of my domain name to their service. However, it’s been two days, my e-mail address is working fine with a different e-mail hosting provider, and Google has still not indicated to me why my Workspace account was suspended, so I will continue to keep my domains at my current reliable provider, and will de-google my phone. I will also update this post if I actually get any kind of reply from Google.