Targeted advertising is here. Google and others do it. Tracking cookies have been helping identify consumer trends for a while. Now CenturyTel is testing out NebuAd.
NebuAd debuted (for me any way) at ISPCON in October 2007. NebuAd's system doesn't just track what sites you visit.
But the fact that you visited a site doesn't say as much about your interests as knowing what you did there and afterward. Did you read several articles or quit halfway through one? Did you leave the site to research the topic further on a search engine? To glean those deeper insights, NebuAd installs equipment inside the facilities of Internet service providers (ISPs), which see everything their customers do online. NebuAd's boxes examine many of the sites people visit, what they do there and what they hunt for on search engines. [source ]
ISP-Planet has a write up on the company here.
CenturyTel is known to be using NebuAd. If I were competing with C-Tel for broadband subs, I would use as much FUD about privacy as I could to win customers. For example,
Why pay $10 more for OUR DSL? Isn't your privacy worth that much?