Mass Surveillance Is Part of Internet Giants’ Business Model

Yahoo has been getting a lot of attention lately for its failures to protect users’ personal information. First, it is the news that hackers stole personal data on more than 500 million Yahoo users. Then there is the disclosure that Yahoo helped the Justice Department conduct mass surveillance by scanning e-mail traffic for signs of a terrorist organization.

However, it turns out that American internet users demand little privacy themselves. Elaine Ou wrote an op-ed for Bloomberg, arguing that if there’s one thing Americans value more than freedom, it’s free stuff.”

“The unfortunate truth is that internet companies need revenue. And if users don’t want to pay, that revenue has to come from advertisers. Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Snap(chat), and Twitter all make money by selling ads. It’s not an easy business model. Online advertising is a highly competitive market with low barriers to entry; all it takes is an app and a paying advertiser.” continues the article.

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