When we think of the various ways our data is used and might be used, many examples come to mind, some good, some bad, some that engender hope and others that engender fear.
Here I want to propose one key distinction that is very important to keep in mind when considering questions on the topic, is our data being used by a genie or a snake charmer?
Genies understand what you want, and they help you get exactly what you want easier and on your command. You issue the directive, the genie supports. You say what and why, the genie handles the how.
Our data can be very powerful in this way. So much of our data can help genies to effectively help us achieve what we want and prescribe the best way to achieve it and even intelligently select on our behalf.
The snake charmer is very different. The snake charmer aims to gain control over your decision making. The goal is to subordinate your directive power and align your will with the needs and wants of the charmer, only helping you incidentally, to the degree theirs is align between the two. It is in snake charmer interest that you not maintain control over the what, why or how of your actions.
Again, we see our data can be powerful here. Our data can be used to gain an advantage in any effort to influence us. To move us this way and that, using a specific string of notes catered specifically to our ears.