Chris Saad, Daniela Barbosa - Understanding the Basics of Personal Data and DataPortability

[Live from Web 2.0 Expo 9/16 - 9/19 Follow along the other Expo Talks in RSS.]

Chris is Co-Founder and Chairperson at DataPortability Project. Daniela is Chairperson, Steering Committee and Co-founder at the Dataportability Project.

There have been many tech inflection points. Intel gave birth to the standardized PC architecture. Windows became a standard for GUIs, drivers, and all the plumbing which allowed for a whole new class of applications to be built. TCP/IP led to the standardization of the the internet. HTTP/HTML brought us the web. We’re moving further and further up the step and we’re getting to the point where we should be thinking about standardizing on the data.

The data portability video was done very early on. You’ve got data everywhere, accounts everywhere, profiles everywhere, friends everywhere, contact details. Upload your photos, avatars, music, rinse, and repeat. Again and again and again. Network fatigue. Your data locked up in someone else’s hands.  DataPortability is all about creating a web where information can freely flow through the network.

Imagine owning and controlling your relationships. Imagine controlling your calendar, images, and other content. Today we all join Flickr, Digg, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Imagine instead that these applications joined you and that you are the data. These applications had to ask for access to the data. Why? So you can sync your friends between Twitter and and keep them sync’ed. Go to and print your photos from Facebook.

Today we share we comment, we rate, we create. Users sign up, fill out profile, add friends, interact with your stuff, you make money, they share your stuff, you get more traffic. Everything but interacting with your stuff and making money is friction that is repeated at every web site. Why the data lock-in model is actually a myth. Example: has a lot of data on you on their site. Why in the world would they want to release this data? It is because Amazon only has a small slice of the data. They don’t know the searches you do on Google. The data they do have is expiring rapidly. In a DataPortability system you get more data, reduced network fatigue, and more usage of everything.

DataPortability means you can access and synchronize the data you have between multiple services.

In January Robert Scoble, with Plaxo, scraped his contacts from Facebook. This is what we refer to as Scoblegate. It set off a flurry of discussion around the idea of being able to move your data between websites and applications.

DataPortability, as a group, is not writing any code or providing any code as a group, we’re advocating a stack. There are lots of open questions around security, privacy, ownership, business models, and user education. How can we evangelize and educate for the user?

Many of the big vendors are playing: Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Six Apart, Linked In, Yahoo, Digg, Plaxo, MySpace. But who cares about them! “If you’re out there I don’t mean you specifically.” (Haha) The DataPortability Project is an open, grass-roots effort.

We have a governance model where everyone can join and get involved immediately. We are experimenting with a radically transparent leadership model. Everyone will own this because everyone has helped to build it. It’s not a product, nor a service, it’s an idea. That means YOU, yes YOU.