Cleaning “your” private data: gmail inbox

So you have decided its time to clean “your” gmail inbox because it is becoming highly cluttered with long time forgotten or marketing emails which are just obfuscating real messages out there from real people. Or maybe you are concerned with your privacy and would like to reclaim some of your data. Whatever the reason, google has a function which allows you to download your full inbox file in the zip archive format. Later this file could be quite easily opened using for example open source Mozilla Thunderbird email client.

Bellow is the google link to raise the request:

Make sure you do select gmail in the list and deselect all the other services.


Once you have downloaded all of your data (might take a while for google to prepare your archive) and moved it into the safe place, you can easily go on and delete all your emails from gmail inbox. To do that, find folder called “all mail” and mark a checkbox on the left corner, click on the popup link to select all emails in this box and click delete. After that, do the same for the rubbish bin and its all clean.

Now, you might be wondering why did I put quotes on “your” word? Well, the promise of gmail service is very straight forward, you get free reliable service, i.e. email storage, email address, in an exchange for your privacy – i.e. you have to share your data for the purposes of marketing/advertising.

If you are someone who is concerned with the privacy and would like to use a more robust solution, try Protonmail which uses public key/private key encryption and is based in Switzerland. Public key/private key encryption makes sure that only you and receiver at the other end (using same encryption method) have capability to read email that is being exchanged. This service use well know business model where premium accounts with extra storage pay for the service of all free accounts as well as service accept donations. I must warn you though, if you decide to switch from gmail to Protonmail, the trade off will be – convenience and possibly availability of service due to possible attacks from governments.


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