Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, the name used for Google-related services like Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive, recently updated its policy regarding how long items that have been placed in the trash are retained.

Google used to allow items in the trash to stay indefinitely – the only items that would be permanently deleted were those that the user deleted herself. Google has changed so that now all Google-related services follow the same policy. Now, if an item has been in a user’s trash for 30 days, Google will automatically delete it.

Over a billion people around the world use at least some of Google’s services. These services are free to use, with the option for businesses and individuals to pay for additional features. This change is likely to affect a lot of people. In the legal context, there are additional considerations to keep in mind.

The law requires that if a person or a business is involved in litigation, or reasonably expects that they might be involved in litigation, they must not destroy evidence that might be relevant.

This is called a litigation hold.

The litigation hold duty includes preventing automatic systems from routinely destroying evidence. In this technology era, evidence is likely to include things like electronic files, texts, or emails.

With many people using Google-related services, business owners, managers, employees, and individuals now must be extra diligent to ensure that evidence is preserved. Be sure you know your company’s storage methods and protocols. Tell your employees to preserve information properly. And then spot-check to ensure they do so.

If you’re an individual, learn how your files and documents are saved. If you’re a lawyer, make sure your clients know they must preserve potential evidence, and that they know items may no longer be indefinitely at their disposal. If you have any questions, our team of experienced attorneys at The Coppola Firm can help.