Any time you think you're getting free stuff, think again. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Free radio, free TV, free email, free health care, free education. Forget it. It isn't free. You're being sold. Just out of college, I was the chief engineer for a radio station. The radio station had a sales department. Did the sales department go door to door, soliciting listeners? No, the sales force went business to business selling listeners, selling time to advertisers to propagandize the listeners. Sure, there is some kind of symbiosis between listeners, advertisers and the radio station. The station needs listeners in order to sell their time to the advertisers, so the radio station provides useful services and entertainment to the listeners, because more listeners means higher ratings, which translate into more advertising dollars. Listeners don't like advertising all that much, but they tolerate it for the free music and news. But make no mistake, the listeners are the merchandise. If you watch free television, or use free services on the web (Google maps, Google mail, etc.), then you, your activity patterns, and your privacy are being sold. Someone has to pay for all that free stuff. And it's you. Oh, right -- it's the advertisers. But who pays the advertisers? You do. In response to their
If you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold. ~ blue_beetle, Metafilter discussion.
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. ~ James Madison (Federalist 51)