BarCampLondon3 in November 2007 is of BarCampLondon organiser extraodinaire Ian Forrester, talking about the the dream and goal of data portability - standardisation of identity and other personal data and its exchange (and controlling its sharing and privacy), notably the laudable Dataportability.org initiative which seems to be increasingly gaining momentum, with lots of the great & the good of the Net already involved, such as Ian himself. To quote from their site:
"Philosophy As users, our identity, photos, videos and other forms of personal data should be discoverable by, and shared between our chosen (and trusted) tools or vendors. We need a DHCP for Identity. A distributed File System for data. The technologies already exist, we simply need a complete reference design to put the pieces together.
Mission Mission To put all existing technologies and initiatives in context to create a reference design for end-to-end Data Portability. To promote that design to the developer, vendor and end-user community."
Of course, cautious paranoid that I am, a major point to my mind is total user control of privacy settings - it's my personal data, I'll only want to use a system that lets me control, easily but quite precisely, exactly which people or groups will be able to access exactly which information about me. Which is the opposite of Facebook -I'm now on it but I admit I don't like it and rarely visit, as Facebook make too much of your data too public by default, which is scary, and opting out is too hard. Both are deliberate, I'm convinced. They also they claim to be able to re-use, as much as they like, for whatever they like, it seems to me, all YOUR data that YOU put on their site. Although to be fair Google seem to claim much the same thing and there's a lot less fuss about that.
Anyway, back on track, I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about data portability in future, particularly with increasing convergence of Internet and mobile.