Data Portability and Me

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jethro's picture

Chris Saad has requested over at the Particls blog that we create a video conversation about data portability.

I have uploaded my little video to YouTube. The transcript is below.

  • What does DataPortability mean to me?
    • Being able to login in anywhere with an openid or equivalent and the ability to control my user data, friends, photos, logins etc. - well that’s the technical answer. For a non geek answer I would say Freedom to select what information I choose to allow a website to know about me and the ability to transport my user data wherever I go - off the web.
  • How do I imagine DataPortability might change the way in which I use the web?
    • Basically, the freedom to move my own data between websites, choose what a web site does and doesn’t know about me and customise my privacy settings from one central location.
  • How would I explain the value of DataPortability to Vendors - those that store the data.
    • Vendors need to understand they have been entrusted with data. When they collect information about users, there is a trust process, and the data does not belong to the vendor. In the past people have hidden behind avatars and false identities, sometimes numerous ones, in order to obfuscate their information, and retain some idea that they are invisible and anonymous. There has been a fear of identity theft. Vendors need to encourage openness and do that by demonstrating their ability to allow users to control their data themselves. Content needs to be able to be easily extracted, my friends, comments, blog posts, photos etc need to be able to be migratible.
  • How would I explain the value of DataPortability to Users - those that create and own the data.
    • Simple!. Imagine having to only ever complete one user information profile ever again. And then being able to choose at any website you go to just how much information you let them see. That’s Data Portability.
  • Ideally, what would I like to see from the DataPortability Project in the next 12 months? 24 months?
    • In the next 12 months I would like to see APML, and other standards becoming universally accepted and adopted by the major companies, and then a gradual filter down in web mastering tools for social site systems, companies like Acquia who are developing Drupal, LiveJournal, MySpace and WordPress and the like. It should become plug and play. That’s the web side.
    • From the user perspective we need vendors who will develop information containers. These need to be small light applications that will reside on users PCs, or in a flash drive or even on a mobile phone and allow a user to hold all their user data. It should contain simple ways of signing up for sites, e.g. entering a site url into it and then selecting from sample profiles, light, medium, all or customised for example. The container will then release the data to that site.
    • Within the next 24 months we need these tools expanded to include data interfaces and storage. I need the ability to extract all my Facebook data for instance off the website into my device or container application, then when I go to Myspace, to be able to push into MySpace my Facebook friends, photos etc.
  • My name is Tim Miller from and I want Data Portability.