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Democracy & Technology Blog Freedom from temptation?

This Gmail user who writes for the Daily Mail apparently doesn’t think she should have to receive targeted ads in exchange for free email service.

The adverts were being specifically targeted at me because of what I had written in a private email to a friend. Though I found the discovery deeply creepy, I carried on using Gmail, noticing all the time that I couldn’t write anything to anyone without Gmail offering me comments, suggestions and temptations.

As the article points out, only machines read and process the data — and the information isn’t sold to nor shared with advertisers.
So what’s the point? That Google may somehow fail to safeguard the data? The company could pay dearly if that were to happen. Or that some among us are easily persuaded and prefer to spend money to relieve anxiety? To protect them from temptation, should the majority be denied access to free email, free blogs and free software?
One issue the article doesn’t mention that I discussed here is that it’s easier for government busybodies to access information in the possession of third parties such as Google. Congress is responsible for that problem.

Hance Haney

Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.