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Doug's Mailbag: No Free Lunch

Readers respond to the idea that privacy is sacrificed when using free software and services:

This article reminds me that in 1990s I recorded a video for a TV commercial that exclaimed, 'are you tired of trading your personal freedom for a trivial discount on obsolete equipment? Of course you are.' I thought then of what you write now -- The price of FREE is FREEDOM.

Everyone knows that there's no such thing as a free lunch. This doesn't seem that complicated. People would choose FREEDOM over FREE. However when you slap a pretty user interface over an experience people are gaga for more, especially when told they need it.

If there was a simple way to express what the cloud means for loss of freedom we would have a chance. But Redmond is all in on the cloud, so we can't go there anymore. It's a curious time. Does that mean my NK2 file is irrelevant, as I will no longer have a local copy of my data? Or is my only local copy at most a data backup with no local applications really? I don't know. I do know this I spend too much time in the Microsoft stack, and I cannot imagine it is easier to get things done with other tools. At most I need better tagging and search functions across local and synched folders in the Microsoft stack. I really do not need more tools then that, and I can connect to anything in a managed way.
-Larry

Something jumped to my mind as I read your freedom blog post. Not only are the companies building a profile of the user who agreed to their indecipherable EULA, but I would assume that the other end of conversations and subjects of posts are also being profiled and aggregated as well. Is that legal, and if not who is the offender, the friend using the service that harvest information from conversations, or the harvesting corporation?

It might be worth an investigative peek into the closet.
-John

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to [email protected] Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 03/05/2012 at 1:19 PM


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