Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter join forces to improve data mobility

The Data Transfer Project is an open source initiative

151027-facebook-headquarters-1-100624905-orig.jpg
151027-facebook-headquarters-1-100624905-orig.jpg

In an effort to allow consumers to transfer data in and out of any participating platform, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have joined forces to create the Data Transfer Project (DTP).

The open source initiative aims to build a common way for people to transfer data into and out of participating online services.

This builds on Facebook’s tool, launched earlier this year, which allowed users to download a copy of the data Facebook has on them. Facebook also launched an eight-week marketing campaign targeted at Australian consumers called 'Here Together' in June. The move comes after more than 310,000 Australians may have had their data improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, according to a Facebook update in April. The data of up to 87 million people, mostly in the US, has been illegitimately collected.

The Data Transfer Website writes: ‘The contributors to the Data Transfer Project believe portability and interoperability are central to innovation. Making it easier for individuals to choose among services facilitates competition, empowers individuals to try new services and enables them to choose the offering that best suits their needs.’

The DTP will also aim to enhance the data portability ecosystem by reducing the infrastructure burden on both service providers and users which should in turn increase the number of services offering portability.

“Moving your data between any two services can be complicated because every service is built differently and uses different types of data that may require unique privacy controls and settings. For example, you might use an app where you share photos publicly, a social networking app where you share updates with friends, and a fitness app for tracking your workouts," Facebook privacy and public policy director, Steve Satterfield, said in a statement.

"People increasingly want to be able to move their data among different kinds of services like these, but they expect that the companies that help them do that will also protect their data. These are the kinds of issues the Data Transfer Project will tackle. The Project is in its early stages, and we hope more organisations and experts will get involved."

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