The following is a few paragraphs from the maidsafe blog:
The press has been deluged in recent times with reports about the surveillance and eaves dropping employed by intelligence and security agencies around the world. Barely a week goes by without a new revelation being announced. But it cannot be ignored that surveillance is big business and this is in fact the way in which many of the largest Internet companies make the vast majority of their revenue. These businesses don’t call it surveillance of course, they call it advertising.
Google generated revenue of $66 billion in 2014, 89.5% of which came through advertising, while Facebook generated 88.5% of their $12.5 billion revenue via the same source. As I said, selling access to us and our data is big business. American cryptographer Bruce Schneier summed the situation up very nicely advising that ‘surveillance is the business model of the Internet’. Informing us, as others did before him, that we are not the customers of these services, we are the product itself, the advertisers are the customers.
This model has been the dominant force for a number of years, but is it all the fault of the Google’s and Facebook’s of this world? Can we lay all the blame at their door? Maybe in part, but we were the all too willing recipients of the ‘free’ services. I suspect that only a small minority of us stopped to think that the seemingly complementary search, mail, maps and social networking platforms came with a higher price. Although most of us didn’t realise the extent of it at the time that price was and is our privacy.
But it is not only our freedom and liberty that is at stake. Our economic well being is also at great risk. This may seem a counter intuitive statement at first glance, how can free services be bad for our economic situation? It may be bad for our privacy, but surely it’s good for my wallet!
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