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I noticed that a lot of companies label themselves as 'free' even though they collect personal data (which in today's day and age is practically a currency in and of itself). I was wondering how/if it's a different case under different laws.

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    "Free" typically means direct monetary compensation by the user. Even sites that don't collect personal information usually sell ads so that they can have some income, and they are still "free". I'm not sure you can classify personal information as currency, you can exchange it for currency (sell information), but it isn't any more a currency than any other good/service for cash.
    – Ron Beyer
    Jan 24, 2021 at 16:11

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