I remember talking to entrepreneurs in the early days of Web 2.0 and the user generated content revolution.

Even back then-- before we could imagine the rise of fake news, before two billion people were on Facebook, before the backlash to all that permanence would lead to the rise of a company like Snapchat-- even back then there was fear of collecting all of this data. Would companies be good stewards of it?

When I spoke to the (then) young men building these companies and asked these questions I was always given the same response: It isn’t in our best interest to abuse user trust, because the entire content of our sites are users. They’ll just leave.

Self interest, they argued, would force them to be good companies. The free market at work...