When I rented my first apartment in the U.S., there were two things about American society that left an impression. It was super easy to get credit. My parents had the foresight of making sure we build up a credit history while in college, which helped. But, from setting up cable TV to signing a rental lease, these businesses showed a lot of trust to someone who was earning a salary for the first time.
The other impression was an oddity concerning the phone service - in those days, we still used the land line. The strange piece of business was having to hand over 50 cents a month to be "unlisted" (from the phone books). The phone company knew my phone number, and I must pay them to keep it from the preening eyes of marketers, stalkers and the likes.
Fast forward to today. Lots of companies have our data, and in most cases, we don't even have the option to keep them private. (Whatsapp recently changed its privacy notice to send data back to mothership Facebook, and they instituted a 30-day window to do a partial "opt-out." You blink and you missed it.) Sometimes, we can pay to get a "premium" version of the service, which may be the same service but without the ads. That's the modern-day "unlisting."
Privacy comes at a cost. The rich and powerful will be able to buy their privacy; not so the average person. This is the new frontier of equal rights.
This battle is being played out in front of our eyes. See this New York Times article about RentLogic, the company that is attempting to create a rating of landlords in NYC. RentLogic uses data to rate landlords. They managed to get onto the rental listings of Citi Habitats, one of the large rental brokers in NYC, only to get kicked off after 10 days when the landlords applied pressure. Meanwhile, landlords have long had access to services that score tenants, and use these scores to disqualify prospective tenants. (Halstead, one of the landlords cited in the article who opposes landlord ratings, uses On-Site to rate tenants.)
The same battle is playing out elsewhere: increasingly, police is using omnipresent videos as evidence but they do not want citizens to point cameras at them.
Lots of websites collect data incessantly on users but they go to great lengths to stop users from scrapping data from the websites.
In each of these cases, the rich and powerful gets to collect/own/store others' data and they want to prevent others from collecting/owning/storing their data. Why should this relationship be asymmetric? It's an equal-rights issue of our times.