What we expect from the Data Portability Working Group

Update: Chris Saad, one of the leaders of this group has responded to each one of the expectations that I listed out below. Please read his responses, as he’s open, direct, and taking leadership.

Last night, I attended the Mashable awards ceremony, and several people were talking about the Data Portability Working Group. It’s also being echod on blogs, and on techmeme. This is a collection of individuals from different part of the industry that are going to lead the charge for data, information, profiles (the most important part of a social network) will eventually be able to move from social network to social network at the control of users.

I support the Data Portability concept and the working group as I know it’s important for my data, the data of my friends and family, and for the industry to grow. With more opportunities for users to expand to other networks on the web, the industry will grow.

What I love about our industry is the high degree of collaboration, openness and trust, it’s truly unique you won’t find in many other industries. Sadly, the downside is that groups can form and nothing may ever come out of these except for a graphic badge on a blog and aging promises on blog posts. I’m sure this won’t be the case with the Data Portability Group.

Here’s what you/I/we should expect to see out of this very important industry governing board, which I fully support:

1) Charter document: This lists the groups purpose, who’s held accountable, and what we expect to see and goals
2) Needs: Problem definition document, what exactly is broken?
3) Plan: A strategy doc that outlines the next steps the group will take to fix the problem, dependencies, phases, and risks.
4) Calendar: Of regular meetings, and who’s assigned to each problem. Dates that indicate what will be done when.
5) Meeting minutes: A regularly published list of notes after each meeting that indicate the progress done by each member
6) Document: Body of standards, the rules, and the final output
7) Openness: Public announcements of progress of major milestones
8: Actual results: our identity portable, safe, managed and controlled by the owners.

Why should we hold this group accountable? As they are going to make decisions about our very own data, privacy, and identities, it’s important that not only we entrust them to make these important decisions, but to also ensure that work gets done from this working group.

Fortunately we’re already seeing the glimmers or progress as they have this public wiki, Google Group, Facebook group, and Twitter account, you can go there to see the progress being made.

Data Portability Working Group Contributors Include
We look forward to the results from this team who signed up to take responsibility, thank you industry contributors the work that you’ve agreed to undertake, in many cases these volunteers are doing this beyond their data job and will donate many extra hours with no extra pay –it’s passion.

Chris Saad
Ashley Angell
Paul Jones
Ben Metcalfe
Daniela Barbosa

Phill Morle
Ian Forrester
Shashank Tripathi
Kristopher Tate
Paul Keen
Brian Suda

Emily Chang
Danny Ayers
Marc Canter
Jeremy Keith
Peter Saint-Andre
Robyn Tippins

Robert Scoble
David Recordon
Joseph Smarr
Brad Fitzpatrick
Benjamin Ling
Matthew Rothenberg

Blaine Cook
Steve Ganz
Jim Meyer
Tariq Krim
Dries Buytaert
Scott Kveton

11 Replies to “What we expect from the Data Portability Working Group”

  1. Thank you Jeremiah. I agree 100% and some of the items that you list are already being addressed (passionately!) and will be shared within the public groups and other conversation channels.

    The buzz was big and many of us that have been involved since the beginning are still catching up on all the posts and comments (well at least i am!!!). This is extremely important not only for the users but also for companies (small and big) who are looking to implement social tools as part of their strategies.

    We look forward to further comments and engagement from you as well.

  2. Seems to me it’s a little weird to talk about moving the relationship data from one social network to another. This seems analagous to moving one’s entire credit history around from site to site, and trying to keep it secure at the same time.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense for some small number of secure sites to simply enable many SoNet sites to have controlled access to relationship info?

  3. Maybe it’s not for these folks to come up with, but I envision that a clear and straightforward End User Bill of Rights should be developed and adhered to by the members of the group.

  4. Hi Jeremiah – thanks for your support and the excellent list of requested deliverables. We may in fact model our work on your list.

    This will be a transparent, open and user-centric process so we welcome all feedback!

    @Jim – Our definition of DataPortability does not mean you need to move the data around necessarily – rather have points and protected access to your data from any application you trust.

    @Eugene – There is a DataPortability Policy Blueprint being worked on – which right now refers to the Social Bill of Rights and the Media 2.0 Best practices as starting points.


  5. I am not sure exactly where all this is going, but the intention and efforts are laudable.

    Problem for me is I have too many logins and passwords to keep track of already, I would rather like one service where all the disparate services can be brought together and accessed once and updates from everywhere else would be available there; NO not iGoogle or Pageflakes; more Twine

    data porting only means chaos; who has control over what Scoble does with your email and DOB elsewhere; i friended him on facebook as thought leader in techbiz space; not for him to decide where and how my data should be available elsewhere; too many points of possible failure to make me sleep easy; he can of course splash his own data over the web; but my facebook details I want to stay IN Facebook

    your freedom to port your data over the network ends where my email and DOB begins ™

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