Define Data portability. Keeping in view the new European Law on data portability, discuss the relevance and potential of such law in India.

Published: September 9, 2017

In the simplest sense, Data portability means portability of data from one platform to another platform, thus facilitating interoperability. The logic is that users should be able to take data along them in case of the shift from one platform to other. This would make switching easier.
Because of lack of data portability, interoperability is not possible, for example, users of different social media platforms cannot communicate across platforms. Even If users don’t like service standards they have stick to that platform due to the fear of losing entire digital networks, this makes them captive consumers. This also hampers competition as established firms have captive users, therefore start-ups can not compete with them. Therefore if social media users can take their data with them to other platforms, this will facilitate competition.
Recently European Union has enacted a new law to facilitate data portability. As per law data controllers should make data available in a structured and interoperable format to ensure portability. With such a huge population is on different social media platforms, India should also implement such regulations. However, law alone is not enough. Like phone calls on different networks, social media users should also be able to communicate across different platforms. This will not only boost competition, but it will also provide a level playing field to start-ups.
In the present era, social media platform is a communication service. A rising tech hub like India should ensure competition and consumer choice in digital technologies, for this regulator should push for data portability and interoperability.

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