No Free Lunch!

The power and convenience of the Internet and the Web are so attractive that we forget there is a price we pay for using them. And generally we are willing to pay that price. But sometimes we are lazy and forget to ask the price or we don’t understand how high a price we are paying.  A good example is the “free” email services such as HotMail or Gmail. When you sign up for them they warn you that Microsoft and Google, respectively, own the content of what you send. Recently a bunch of people have sued Google because they learned that Google was scanning their emails and—it is alleged–using the information not only for targeting advertising to the Gmail users but also using it for secret profiles of these users. This practice is a good example of the “Intentional Blooper” we just cited. The antidote for email users is to pay a bit to email services who guarantee not to use the information.