The Hidden Cost of your ‘Free’ Email Account

4 minute read.

As more paid secure email services become available to businesses and individuals, it is natural to ask…

‘Why should I pay when I already have an email for free?’

If you’ve had this thought, you’re not alone. Not only is this a good question, but it’s one that has been asked time and time again.

So that is what we are going to address in this post.

Your free email isn’t actually free!

You won’t be the only person who read that and thought, ‘But I don’t pay any money for my email, so it is in fact ‘free‘.

We are not trying to be purposely controversial with that statement. It is true. To prove it, let’s look at the word ‘free’ and how it is defined.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines free as ‘costing nothing, or not needing to be paid for’. You’ll note in the definition there is no mention of money or any specific form of payment.

The word free has become so intrinsically linked to money, that whenever we come across it, money is instantly our second thought.

However, the belief that money is the only form of payment is wrong. There are plenty of things that are paid for with something other than money. Think of all the things that cost nothing monetarily, but you pay for with your time, love, or effort, for example.

Now you can see that not everything that costs requires money to be paid. Let’s go back now to the statement we made before: your free email isn’t actually free!

So if you’re not paying for your email with money, what are you paying with?

Your personal data.

At first glance, the importance of that might go amiss. But the importance of your personal data shouldn’t be an afterthought. Your personal data is far more precious than money!

Your personal data paints a picture of not only who you are but why you are who you are. What you think, your values and belief systems, habits and behaviors, hopes and aspirations, even your most intimate secrets – can all be gleaned from your personal data. This picture or profile of who you are can be and often is used to influence your future actions and decisions. It is often called your digital fingerprint, but it might be more accurate to call it your digital identity.

It seems there is a new story in the news of a privacy scandal or data breach every week. The subject of these breaches almost always seems to be people’s personal data. From the EasyJet hack that exposed approximately 9 million customers’ data to the curious case of Cambridge Analytica’s collection of millions of Facebook user’s personal data, we see how personal data is targeted and exploited.

But why personal data? And maybe, more importantly, why your personal data?

Personal data is big business. And it pays handsomely for those that control it!

The collection, sale and use of your personal data or digital fingerprint, is the source of profit for a growing number of businesses. Whether it be targeted ads to influence your buying decisions or targeted messages that might influence how you might vote in an election, there are massive consequences from the use and misuse of personal data.

The truth is your data is valuable not only to you, but to those that would seek to profit from you. And as the digital transformation begins to encompass nearly every aspect of modern life, our presence online increases, the volume of data on us increases, and so does its value.

This loss of control over our personal data, manipulation of our decisions, interference in the democratic process, and erosion of privacy are the true costs of ‘free’ email.

Privacy is not free – but that’s OK!

The fight to regain control, ownership and privacy over personal data in a heavily exploited modern world comes at a cost – it is not ‘free’ either!

The providers of private email services need to invest money to build, maintain and continually improve the robust and secure infrastructure required to maintain the privacy and security of their users’ data.

These services are provided to their users at a cost. The cost will vary for each provider depending on their business objectives. So it’s worth finding out more about a provider’s ethos and objectives before committing to their service.

How does StayPrivate fit in?

We don’t sell or exploit your information ever. Period.

There are no ads in your mailbox and no scanning of your communication for information to build a digital fingerprint of who you are.

Your data is yours and yours only! When you use StayPrivate you retain ownership and privacy over both the information you communicate and your metadata (stuff like who you are communicating with and when).

Our company policy is privacy first, profits second. We make money by you deciding to upgrade and use our services more. Our business model is one of mutual benefit where our financial goals are aligned with your needs. Because of this, it’s easy for us to always do what is right by our users to protect their privacy. You pay us to protect your personal data and we are incentivized not to betray this trust.

The internet on your terms

More than a catchy tagline. It is our vision. Where we, the users, control how and where our data is used. Creating a better internet. A more private, secure, fair internet. Where the balance of power is distributed evenly, and everyone has control of their data, their digital identity, their story. One email at a time.

We believe you should not have to surrender your human right to privacy to enjoy the benefits of online services. We want to make this a reality.

It is only together that we can achieve this. With every new StayPrivate user, every email sent securely using StayPrivate, we inch closer to an internet on your terms.

The StayPrivate Team

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