On Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the nation about the dire threat posed by the military-industrial complex. An updated version of his speech would read:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the
military-industrial complex surveillance-internet complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists the intrusion on our privacy exists, and will persist."
The interests of Internet businesses and companies that collect data to profile individual users are closely aligned with government agencies that engage in surveillance or that would benefit from it.
Curtailing commercial surveillance would threaten the business models of Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and greatly reduce the marketing power of Internet juggernauts such as Amazon. For many applications, the Internet could no longer be free.
For this reason, most Internet companies are staunchly opposed to the kinds of restrictions on their behavior that E.U. Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has proposed (and the U.S. has successfully fought). She calls for Web businesses to obtain explicit consent before they collect data used to profile individual users. Perhaps the most controversial part of the proposal is the "right to be forgotten," which would allow users to have data about them deleted if there was no legitimate reason for keeping it.