Data Privacy

We agree with Facebook: data sharing is the future

We’re massive advocates of data portability here at

If owning and controlling our personal data is a human right, as we believe, then individuals being able to share that data, on their own terms, in exchange for benefits, is how we build a transformative Personal Data Economy from which every level of society will reap rewards.

So we were delighted to see Facebook call for a new global standard on data sharing and a “new generation of data portability” this week, publishing a white paper charting the way forward.

In a blog post announcing the paper, Erin Egan, Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer, Policy, said: “At Facebook, we believe that part of having a free and open internet means that people should be able to share their data with the apps or services they like most.

“As our CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently said, if you share data with one service, you should be able to move it to another. This gives people control and choice, while also promoting innovation. That’s why we support the principle of data portability.”

Crucial to enabling this new generation of data portability, Egan said, is demonstrating to users that they can trust their data is protected as they move it between different services, adding: “We hope this paper will be the start of a series of conversations with privacy experts, policymakers, regulators and other companies around the globe about how data portability should be implemented to maximize the benefits while mitigating the risks.”

Facebook’s white paper sets out five questions that it hopes “will help advance a global conversation about what it means to build privacy-protective data portability”:

  1. What is data portability?
  2. Which data should be portable?
  3. Whose data should be portable?
  4. How should we protect privacy while enabling portability?
  5. After people’s data is is transferred, who is responsible if the data is misused or otherwise improperly protected?

It also lists four areas where the company is already working on helping make data more mobile, including the UK’s Data Mobility Infrastructure Sandbox, for which is the data facilitator. The Sandbox, run by Ctrl-Shift, has already released its own initial findings exploring what is needed to create safe and efficient data sharing and we at published our own solutions-based white paper in response.

Facebook says it is hoping to “make a small contribution to the thought and research from privacy experts, think tanks and regulators already working on data portability.”

For our part, we’re always delighted to see more voices in the privacy and portability conversation, especially such influential ones as Facebook.

Let us all hail the big steps forward being made towards a more portable future for all.