Freedom of choice. Use it.

There have been endless stories recently regarding Google Gmail and privacy concerns. Google Watch has a privacy alert about it. The World Privacy Forum says that 31 civil liberties associations are against it. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has suggestions for protecting you privacy with Gmail.

Here is a suggestion for everyone. If you are concerned about your privacy, don’t sign up for Gmail. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. We all have freedom of choice, but we so often fail to exercise it. In fact, many people would like to make out decisions for us, by suggesting that Google not even offer the service. One lawmaker has even suggested a law against it.

Google is not a charity. They are a for-profit company that is proposing a free email service with up to 1 GB of storage, in exchange for the ability to deliver advertising to users – and efficiently targeted advertising at that. This is not spyware that installs itself without the user’s knowledge. They have stated their intentions clearly.

This seems to be a disturbing trend lately. Howard Stern is being censored, effectively by the FCC which has changed the rules of how it calculates fines, hitting Clear Channel Comunications with a huge penalty, with the potential for more in the future. We may not agree with him, but free speech is still a right.

Whether it is Google on the web, or TV, or radio, if you don’t like it then make the decision to turn it off. Please do not propose to make that decision on my behalf. I can make up my own mind.