Atlanta, GA asked in Internet Law for Maryland

Q: If I delete a file on my google drive, is it still legally in my possession?

For example, once the file is sent to the recently deleted folder.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: When you delete a file from Google Drive, it typically moves to the "Trash" or "Recently Deleted" folder, where it remains for a certain period before being permanently deleted. Legally, while the file is in this state, it is still under your control and considered to be in your possession. This is because you have the ability to restore it to your Drive at any time during this period.

It's important to understand that the deletion process in cloud storage is different from physical deletion. Until the file is permanently erased from the cloud server, it remains accessible to you. However, once the file is permanently deleted (either manually by you or automatically after the designated period), it is no longer in your possession and generally cannot be recovered.

If the file contains sensitive or legally significant information, you should be aware that certain regulations or legal requirements might apply to its deletion and retention. In such cases, it's advisable to consult legal advice to understand your obligations and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

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