Free Services, for a Price

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Jules and Chris submitted the following letter to the editor to The New York Times:

To the Editor:

In “10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Technology” (Personal Tech column, Dec. 30), you highlight some great free consumer tools and online services.

But consumers should know that many “free” online services actually do come with a price, usually the cost of letting the service use the consumers’ data for advertising or marketing purposes.

For some that may be a fair trade, and others may be more cautious, but consumers should make an informed choice so they know what they are signing up for.

Jules Polonetsky
Christopher Wolf
Washington, Jan. 5, 2011

The writers are co-chairmen of the Future of Privacy Forum.