What is Data Portability.org

I have like many working for years on different aspects of building an identity meta-system where users have control. have been listening to and in some cases contributing to the conversations at dataportability.org for a few months.

There seems to me to be two different but interrelated energetic focuses in the DP group

* one is evangeslistic and pushing a message out – out into the mainstreatm.

* the other is technical – around what tech to use, how to implement it, what ‘action to take’. (much of the activity around technical side of the identity stuff needed has been happening in the context of the Identity Commons community for several years)

* the policy group is relatively quite in DP (and at IC) this critical aspect is needed but there has yet to be a center of gravity around this in the world yet. When I look out on the landscape I see several nascent conversations and hope that those nascnet conversation leaders can be brought together – so a gravitational center that is collaborative between all the trains of thought can form and really get this to happen (it requires significant funding – brain power etc).

One of the community leaders said “the value of DataPortability is that it is a brand that can represent multiple communities.”

Another leader stated this “DP has a very specific goal. To research, document for mainstream consumption and evangelize best practices for DataPortability.”

It got me wondering about what DP’s brand “is”, if the primary focus “building a brand” and what will/does the brand mean and what does the organization do? The following are some crystalized ideas based on listening to and participating in the conversation. They are all very interesting possibilities.

* Does having the logo on your site mean something about how much control you give ‘users’/people the ability to move their data?

* Does it mean that ‘shared’ user data – the relationship that one user has with another or a record of a transaction that I did with a company – do both parties ‘own’ that information and have shared control over where it is ‘ported’ around?

* is it a public rallying call for ‘netizens’ to rally behind to demand that they have ‘data portability’ and with this large netizen organization go to ‘social network providers’ nd ‘demand’ that they install technology to make it easy?

* is it a ‘trade’ association of technology sites that agree to adopt open standards, do testing and hold each other accountable in getting this to happen?

* does it innovate the strong ‘business case’ for companies with large numbers of users (and those starting to grow the number of users) might actually spend development dollars that enable DP rather then ‘do it later’ after other key features are rolled out?

* is it a movement of advocates and net early adopters who want to create a buzz and “move” large social network providers to invest in the standards and technologies needed to support people being able to move their data?

* is it a place where the technical issues in making this vision a reality are figured out and the ‘answers’ (reference implementations) are promoted?

* Is it an ‘open brand’ that anyone can point to and ‘define’ for themselves and say they do it?

* Is it a brand like OSI (Open Source Initiative)that has an a process that defines what is and is not qualified ‘open source’ licence?

* Is it a brand that holds events to talk about the broad subject of Data Portabilty – (a vast problem – with many potential solutions)?

* Is it a “Movement” lead by a charismatic leader or group that has ‘followers’ (think Free Software as an example of this kind of movement)?

* is it an umbrella/coordinating space for different sector groups to find each other and collaborate on the shared by different problem space (health care, insurance, retail, nonprofit groups, airlines etc – etc) in an extensible way?

There is a related post about Identity Commons and DP
and What the Heck is Identity Commons?

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