E-commerce promised the world. Are we happy with our purchase?

It has been 25 years since the first online transaction took place, but we're still struggling with the balance between convenience and security

"Why would anyone want to buy anything online?"

This was the question that Mr Guy Haskin Fernald, at the time an undergraduate student in computer science at Swarthmore, remembers hearing when he began work on one of the world's first e-commerce websites, NetMarket, in 1994.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2019, with the headline 'E-commerce promised the world. Are we happy with our purchase?'. Print Edition | Subscribe