January 23, 2022

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Requests Feedback on Data Portability Issues

From a White House Blog Post

Today [September 30, 2016], the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is asking for your thoughts on whether and how to increase your ability to get and use your data. The catchphrase for this ability is “data portability,” and it generally means the ability to download the information that a service stores for or about an individual. Data portability should allow us to enjoy the convenience of keeping our data online, and the ability to gain access to it and use it how we wish.


Proponents of increased data portability point to numerous, significant benefits for users, service providers, and the broader public. For users, perhaps the most important benefits are the ability to create backups of their most important data, like photographs, tax returns, and other financial information, and reducing the danger of becoming locked-in to a single service, especially in a world where service providers may change business models or discontinue products.


Others may point to potential private and public downsides. With lower switching costs, businesses might adjust their business models and become more selective in their initial customer acquisition strategy or invest less in their customer relationships, which might leave some sets of customers worse off than before. Some privacy and security advocates also worry that the strength of data portability – easier sharing of information – could encourage more information sharing, including when it might be inadvisable from a privacy perspective or when a criminal successfully breaks into an unsecured service.

Read the Complete Blog Post

From the RFI

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is interested in understanding the benefits and drawbacks of increased data portability as well as potential policy avenues to achieve greater data portability. The views of the American people, including stakeholders such as consumers, academic and industry researchers, and private companies, are important to inform an understanding of these questions.

Direct to Request for Information Regarding Data Portability

Media Coverage

via FedScoop: White House Explores Data Portability in New RFI

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.