In the next post in the Data Portability Series curated by our colleagues at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT (ICRI) of the KU Leuven – University of Leuen, LSE Alum and lawyer Paul Moura argues that a focus on interoperability is key to ensuring data portability inspires innovation rather than resistance.
With the data protection reform discussion centred around privacy and security issues, it may seem counter-intuitive that the European Commission is proposing to make data portability easier. Yet the consumer protection benefits are clear. As Inge Graef mentioned in the inaugural post of this series, data portability can also be seen as a competition issue. By reducing the likelihood of being “locked-in” to online services, users would have better control over their data and can more easily switch from service to service. But will a strict portability requirement work in practice, or will platforms balk at the thought of transmitting their user base to competitors?
The Problem of High Switching Costs
High switching costs are not uncommon in cyberspace. As users incorporate more and more data into the services that they use, it becomes increasingly difficult to switch services, even if better, cheaper, or more privacy-enhancing platforms become available. Continue reading