IGF 2020 WS #337 Jumping over garden walls: data ownership & data portability


Organizer 1: Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Speaker 1: Carlos Affonso de Souza, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Fabro Steibel, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Smitha Krishna Prasad, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Debate - Auditorium - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

What would be the regulatory best-practices to grant the right to data portability? To what extent, if any, could the development of international norms and principles facilitate common approaches and interoperability of data protection frameworks, and also facilitate international trade and cooperation?

Among the rights usually provided for in data protection laws worldwide, data portability is one that requires a lot of effort from different stakeholder in order to turn it into reality. The challenges are many, such as the lack of technical expertise, platform interoperability and general awareness by users that mostly think about portability in connection to mobile carriers, but not as much as a general right. In a digital economy, to be able to move from one provider to the other is a key factor for securing consumer choice and protection. There are clear opportunities for Internet users, as well as serious competition concerns that need to be addressed in the implementation of portability regimes. Failing to discuss data portability at this stage might not only increase the lock-in effect for many Internet users, but also downplay an essential tool for fostering data protection literacy worldwide.


GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals


Data portability is a right included in the GDPR to allow individuals to obtain and reuse their personal data for their own purposes across different services. Legislations from Global South countries, such as the Brazilian General Data Protection Law, have also contemplated such right, challenging academics, civil society, regulators and the private sector to better define how portability should be implemented. Challenges range from legal aspects (e.g. what data portability actually means, which and whose data may be subject to it), to technical ones (e.g. how to allow individuals to easily move, copy or transfer personal data across different platforms in a safe and secure manner). The right to data portability is a key element for ensuring values of consumer choice and protection in a competitive digital environment. As individuals rely on different platforms to undertake essential activities, data protection literacy and the deployment of data portability needs to be carefully addressed by all stakeholders. This workshop proposal aims at bringing together a wide range of experts to discuss best practices on how to design and implement data portability tools.

Expected Outcomes

Consult members of the community for feedback / Strategize with key stakeholders on paths forward in designing data portability regimes that foster data protection, competition and consumer choice. The organizers are preparing a report on the current status of data portability regimes in connection to the recent approval of data protection laws (such as the case of Brazil). This workshop would be a very relevant opportunity to hear from IGF’s community and learn from international experiences.

Time will be allowed for public intervention, enabling a concrete exchange of experience and reflection between them. The workshop will start with a 5-minute explanation of the topic's relevance and relevance, conducted by the moderator, and soon afterwards, each guest will have 10 minutes to present their opinions, arguments and share their professional trajectories. After that first moment, 20 minutes will be used for public intervention present, with questions directed to those present, and conclusions from each guest.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Data portability is essentially connected to the debate over how open (or closed) would be the future of the Internet. As IGF has matured into a privileged space for the exchange of ideas and proposals about the future of the Internet and its governance and regulation, we would like to connect the topic of data portability into the long history of privacy and data protection debate that had taken place in previous editions of the Forum. Additionally, this topic demands contributions from different stakeholders in order to provide a broader view on how key is data portability to Internet governance and the digital economy. The diverse range of actors that attends IGF would make it an ideal venue to connect the dots and speed up a global conversation on data portability.

Relevance to Theme: The session will have a strong post-conference impact since it aims at improving the data protection regulation debate due to the importance of data portability to users, companies and Governments. The right to data portability is provided by the GDPR and by various other data protection regulations around the globe. Facebook’s recent White Paper “CHARTING A WAY FORWARD: Data Portability and Privacy” sets forth five questions about data portability and privacy. This session will be an opportunity to discuss regulatory best-practices and practical projects, such as the Data Transfer Project (a collaboration between Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter, launched in 2018), among others. Civil society, Academia and Governmental voices will be included in a multistakeholder debate to explore how data portability matters for consumer protection, choice, competition and Internet governance and regulation as a whole.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.