[...] here was a technology that conceivably could give corporations infinitely more power over consumers, not simply to advertise products, but to make sales. But that required wrestling away people’s ability to maintain their privacy, and doing so without their awareness of what was being done to them.
This movement was led, appropriately enough, by Procter & Gamble. The key was to find a way of tracking people’s internet activity so you could know who they were, where they were, and you could collect data on them. It didn’t begin all at once. It wasn’t an overnight 180-degree turn, but that process was underway by the mid-nineties, and then it was expanded to where we are today over the next decade.
Why, so early on, was it understood that the key to turning the internet into a commercial medium would be this tracking and surveillance capacity?
explaining that advertisers were ones driving it initially, recognising that no one would choose to view an ad