This just goes to show you, you oughta read those privacy EULAs you e-sign when signing up for services online:
Do you believe the contents of every personal and business email you ever write or send should be recorded and permanently archived on third party servers located in countries throughout the world, to which you have no access?And it isn't just Google --
If you are one of the millions of GMail users, you have indicated to Google that you most certainly do.
Gmail doesn't even ask you for your gender, birthdate, and your postal code. Yahoo and Microsoft do. Gmail doesn't sell your info to third parties either. Did you know that Yahoo! does? (With your consent, of course!) You should read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policies of ALL free email service providers and not just criticize Gmail.
Have you read Yahoo! Mail's policy on Data Storage? Theirs is extremely similar to Gmail's policy on data storage. Here, read it: "Please note that any information that we have copied may remain in back-up storage for some period of time after your deletion request." Define Yahoo's "some period of time". Is this period of time shorter than that of Gmail's?
Good thing I lie on all of those forms...