Dataportability: Did anyone ask the users?

If you believe what you read on blogs, then dataportability is all peace and light and yayness. Unfortunately it seems someone forgot to tell the rest of the internets.

It seems to be that many people who want data portability are either not representative of the general population or have agendas involving trying to get as many people as possible onto their site.

This isn’t just a privacy concern: I continue to think that the difference in context between different social applications is a key constraint that people are missing.

I’m increasingly of the view that moving contacts from one application to another should require both parties to agree that that they want to be visible to each other in the new context. It isn’t clear to me that this a viable process, though.

(Something that should be obvious but apparently isn’t: portable APIs for web based social application – ie OpenSocial – are extremely good. Moving of personal data – ie, data portability – is something I think still is questionable)

3 thoughts on “Dataportability: Did anyone ask the users?

  1. I’m not really sure I understand your point. When you move away from a network to another, you only bring your own data along, so it’s all peace and light and yayness. I you move your blog from one place to another, you bring the comments along, but those who left them agreed to leave them in the first place. If you switch from gmail to yahoo, you carry over your contacts, so what ? Should someone accept mail from you@gmail and refuse it from you@yahoo ?

  2. The issue, and I’m pretty sure that it’s been brought up more than once, is how much of that data is yours? Sure, you carry your contacts, but if you are talking about porting data out of Facebook, it probably also carries with it your birthday as well as other information beyond your name and email address. I’m sure there are some people who keep all the additional information in Gmail or Yahoo Mail, but in general, if it’s a contact I need all pertinent information like IM names and snail mail addresses for, it’s someone I contact frequently and have that on my laptop in my address book.

    There are some people who befriend the Scobles of the world, which ends up giving someone you may never have even had a direct conversation with all that information, which was how this whole thing started: with Scoble scraping all his data from Facebook into Plaxo and getting his account banned. If those users knew that information would be able to be exported and used for whatever, would they have friended him in the first place?

    There ARE issues here that will need to be addressed for any data shared pre-Data Portability. Well, if Data Portability ever gets implemented on any of these sites.

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