We’ve all faced it at some point in the past, the pain of downloading something off of one online storage service, only to re-upload it another. Be it for reasons of preference, or space optimisation, or even convenience, we all face the need to transfer data from one online account to another every now and then. Noticing the problem of privacy and wanting to make this process easier for users, four major tech giants have announced that they are joining an open-source initiative called Data Transfer Project.
According to The News Minute, the Data Transfer Project was started in 2017 to create an open-source service-to-service data portability platform so all users across the internet could easily move their data between online service providers at any time. "Using your data from one service when you sign up for another still isn't as easy as it should be. Today we're excited to announce that we're participating in the Data Transfer Project," commented Steve Satterfield, Facebook’s Privacy and Public Policy Director in a statement.
An initiative like this seems to have come at a timely moment, amid news of Cambridge Analytica’s data scandal and the implementation of European General Data Regulation Protection (GDPR) in many countries. News of unlawful data collection and sharing of data is causing brows to furrow with doubt and suspicion. An initiative like comes in handy because moving data between any two online services is a complicated process as each service is built in a different way and uses various types of data that may require unique privacy 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," theorised Satterfield. "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."
The Data Transfer Project uses existing APIs and authentication mechanisms of online services to access data. It then uses service-specific adapters to transfer data from one service into a common format, and then into the destination service’s API. The four companies have also released a white paper on the subject. It’s worth noting that while these four aforementioned companies have come together to contribute to such a project, Apple has stayed completely silent on the matter.