It’s clear, isn’t it, that we pay for Facebook and Google one way or the other.
One way: We pay by fee.
The other: We pay in privacy.
I get why Facebook and Google are prepared to play loose and fast with our privacy. That’s the business model. This is the way they make money. They "have to."
Actually, there’s an alternative. It is to give us the option of paying for Facebook and Google in something less precious than our privacy.
I’m not saying millions would sign up for this option. But it would clarify the debate nicely. It would allow Google’s Eric Schmidt to say, "Oh, privacy is important to you? Here’s the alternative. Pay us."
(And wouldn’t it be interesting to see someone run these numbers. What would Facebook have to charge us in the currency was, um, currency?)
But I think this wouldn’t just be useful for Facebook and Google. I think it might be obligatory. I think a fee option is something they’re obliged to make available. It would be mean they no longer "have to" invade our privacy.