No! The internet is not free. The cost you pay for using all the fascinating, intriguing, neat, convenient, effective, adaptable features of the internet is YOU. The bitter truth about these free services is that you pay for them with your own identity that too without being aware that you are doing so.
Here is how you are paying for the internet
- Google Maps stores your locations all the time that you have it turned on
- Google My Activity stores all of the search histories across all your devices even after you delete them
- Gmail has all your emails including the ones which you have deleted or put in the spam folder
- Drive also stores all the files including deleted ones
- Google Ads maintain an advertisement profile of each user based on age, location, job, etc
- Google Calendar keeps track of all your events and if, when did you attend them
- Your Youtube search history is stored by Google
- Facebook has all the messages, stickers, photos, applications you have connected with
- Facebook also has things you are “Interested in” list
- Windows 10 does a pretty good job of tracking you in similar ways by maintaining all the apps that you download, games you have played, emails and messages exchanged and also have access to your webcam and microphone.
What do they do with all this information you ask? Well, your information is sold to the advertisement industry. When the users decided that they would rather have the internet for free, the websites had to find a way to earn money. So they had to bring in advertisers. So now these websites analyse the users’ behaviour and sell them to the suitable advertiser. If you see McDonald’s ad on your news feed and you click on it, Facebook will tell McDonald’s about this and will bombard you with more such ads. We are technically being monetized.
Feels like we actually reside in an episode of Black Mirror, doesn’t it!