A key lesson of privacy is: Free is never free.
As our Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen once explained it:
We at F-Secure make this point often enough that when we announced our FREE Adblocker for iOS9, several people shouted it right back at us.
Our response: YES! RIGHT ON! YOU’RE RIGHT!
We do have a profit motive here, we’re interested in promoting our extremely effective, fairly priced VPN and anti-tracking solution that removes geo-blocking — Freedome. So in exchange for providing a service that blocks out distractions, speeds your load times and protects you from the scourge of malicious ads, you will see this one line “advertisement” for Freedome there at the bottom.
Yes, we figured those interested in this kind of feature that gives you more control of your online experience might be interested in a paid service. And if a small percentage is, we’ll be able to go on making other cool free apps that help spread the word about our products.
You can call it a “catch”, except we’re being completely straight forward. We’re not going to use any of your data to monetize this product ever and we’re not taking any money from any advertisers to “whitelist” their ads, as some developers do
So our Security Advisor Sean Sullivan agrees with those making the “no free lunch” argument.
“But that’s a very cheap lunch at least, no?” he asked.
Free still isn’t free. You’re paying with your attention or data.
With F-Secure Adblocker, we’re just asking you to deal with one sentence in the interface you can easily ignore. That’s it. Hopefully, this makes us a pretty cheap date.
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March 22, 2018