What this means for you
Let me be 100% transparent with you. I send out an email newsletter weekly via a platform called Mailchimp, and I’m using their “Free” tier of service in exchange for allowing them to use a portion of my email to advertise their service. I’m also quite certain they are gathering metadata from every email I send out, aggregating this data across all their other clients (paid or not!) and then reselling that information to various advertisers and market research firms. As we’ve been repeatedly told even well before the birth of the internet, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Google’s Gmail service, for something that is free, is actually one of the best email platforms in existence, but, as you should already know, comes at a price.
If there is something I’ve gleaned from working with people and technology for over 30 years now, it’s that we all have a calculus we perform internally that measures convenience and cost against privacy and security. For some of us, that teeter-totter tips heavily on the privacy and security side, and for others much less so, especially if the convenience means that we are able to invest effort into other things that matter more. Regardless of how your inner-seesaw is tilted, privacy and security are not balanced or elevated without significant effort, and more is being required everyday. The longer companies like Google, Facebook, and yes, even Apple sit on one end of the teeter-totter gorging themselves on your data, the harder they will be to lift or even dislodge so that you can properly enjoy the ride with someone who doesn’t always tip the scales in their favor.
Don’t expect any company, especially a for-profit one, to stand up for your privacy regardless of what they tweet or tout in their advertisements, and the same can be said for many politicians who plainly have their pockets lined by big corporations. Whether we want to admit it or not, many of us are using services that may or may not be worth the privacy we give in exchange. Your privacy is valuable, so don’t give it up so easily. You’ll definitely miss it when it’s gone.