Lately I’ve had this hunted feeling, that digital forces increasingly want things from us that we are unwilling to give. I used to be blithe about it and give myself up to pestering technology, but now I’m suspicious.
I have an HP printer and for a decade bought the most precious and overpriced material on the planet, printer ink, worth more than lithium, coltan and cobalt. At one point, HP mysteriously began to thank me for buying its ink and rewarded me with free video games I did not play.
It was worried because customers had a new option: buy cut-price no-name ink for HP printers that was sold cheaply in order to make a fortune on HP ink. You thought your printer was a first date; you had married an extortionist.
Take journalist Charlie Warzel who bought an HP printer and had inattentively subscribed to Instant Ink, its auto-refill