You have data in at least one web application. Given that you’re reading this, the chances are that you have data in many web applications. If you don’t like the way your data are being used by the application, you can always leave. So you want your data to be portable.
Nitin, posting at GigaOm today, argued that data portability isn’t as important as what he terms data property rights. He went further, to state that “data portability is a non-solution to a non-problem.”
I like Nitin’s post, in part because it highlights this problem. I also like it because of his application of the exit-voice framework to the issues. Portability relates to exit, to taking your data elsewhere. Data property rights relate to voice, to having a say in what is done with your data.
Exit and portability are important as threats. If you don’t like what an app provider is doing with your data, you should have a credible threat of exit. The existence of the threat is one of the reasons for app providers to behave themselves.
DataPortability’s first principle is that: We want sovereignty over the profiles, relationships, content and media we create and maintain. Portability itself is only one aspect of that sovereignty.