Renowned Social platforms like Microsoft, Google, Facebook & Twitter have taken up a new initiative called Data Transfer Project that will allow users to transfer data (contacts, contents, and many more) across apps (form one service to another) without needing to download it and re-upload it. The transferred data would be encrypted making it difficult for the third partied to access it without user permission.
What is Data Transfer Project (DTP)?
Formed in 2017, DTP is an open source data portability platform that any online service can join. The motive behind this project is to enable users to transfer data (import and export data) between online service providers anytime without ant hassle.
Why the need for this new initiative?
DTP already supports a few prototypes that allow online platforms to transfer several data including photos, email, calendar, contacts and tasks. However this information cannot be shared directly online from one app to another without downloading it.
The problem with downloading the data and then re-uploading has challenges. These include:
- Slow or Low bandwidth and infrastructure constraints: Downloading data on low bandwidth connections is difficult. This makes import and export of data to or from one app to another impractical or exasperating.
- Downloaded data can be misused: The data download provision leaves the data from the owner’s hands making it vulnerable to cyber attacks. Online services can do nothing about it. Recently FaceBook, Google and other major online services have indulged in online scandals as they failed to manage user’ personal data. The newly proposed consortium however would ensure management of user data to a great extent.
- Data Download tools offered by most platforms today rarely connect with other services.
- Europe’s new GDPR regulations require tools to provide all data available on a given user. The data-download tools available today are inept to provide all the information as along with emails and photos you will find other thornier data like facial recognition profiles that cannot be shared with the current API. Though there are few projects like Digi.me trying to make use of that data, however most of the times it ends up sitting on user’s hard drives. Even if it can be downloaded, the data usually sits on user drive and cannot be used as other apps lack the technique to import or export that information.
- Transfer of information from one platform to another is not only difficult but also insecure.
- The current protocol makes it difficult to find your friends from one app to another.
How does DTP work?
Data Transfer Project makes use of APIs used by existing services and authorization mechanism to access data. But the transfer of this data could be challenge as the data contained in one online platform may have different format if compared with others, making it tough to switch services. To overcome this DTP makes use of specific adapters to transfer data onto a common format. The format is then changed back into the new service’s API.
Data Transfer Project: Advantages of this new initiative
- DTP could be a boon for startups as this new initiative allows the incumbent tech giants to interoperate with user’s existing data rather than initiating from the scratch. Any modifications in the features of the social networking startups be it payment system, location sharing feature etc, DTP makes it easier to clone the user information rather than creating a new one.
- DTP will enable users to securely transfer data from one online platform to the other as the transferred information will be encrypted prohibiting unwanted access to the data.
- DTP allows user to turn Off the pipelines or impose conditions as per their needs on how the shared data can be used. For instance, a user can disable the rights to modify the data by the end user and allow the recipient to only view it.